Learning is a skill, and intentional learning is a mindset. Nurturing such a mindset and developing your skills can boost your personal growth, professional development, and competitive edge for future jobs. Over time, people who consistently develop their learning mindset enjoy being lifelong learners. There will be ups and downs in your learning journey. You might struggle to learn and master unfamiliar topics. Perhaps you will need to unlearn, learn, and relearn. With an intentional learning mindset, you will overcome these challenges and always be willing to learn, which is the key to success.
Never has a learning mindset been so crucial. Digital technologies, automation, and robotics are transforming the world of work. Today's workers will need to continually learn new skills to stay relevant in their current jobs and adapt as new occupations emerge. Research shows that the need for manual, physical labor and basic cognitive skills will decline. Instead, the need for technological, social, emotional, and higher cognitive skills will grow. Whatever the skills, a willingness to learn is essential. The call to learn has never been more insistent. Even before the pandemic, lifetime employment was fading, and there were demands that both executives and employees must continually refresh their skills. The pandemic has only accelerated the urgency of skill-building, either to keep up with the speed of transformation or to manage the new ways of working.
To give you personalized guidance, we have measured three personality traits and the sub-traits. that influence your ability to learn intentionally:
Theories on learning offer different perspectives on how individuals receive, process, and retain knowledge during learning. Cognitive, emotional, and environmental influences, as well as prior experience, all play a part in determining how understanding is acquired or changed, and knowledge and skills retained.
Learning is the process of acquiring new understanding, knowledge, behaviors, skills, values, attitudes, and preferences. Some learning is immediate, caused by a single event (e.g., being bitten by a dog), but more often, skills and knowledge accumulate from repeated experiences. Human learning starts at birth and continues until death via ongoing interactions between people and their environment.
Many disciplines study how we learn, including educational psychology, neuropsychology, experimental psychology, pedagogy, and andragogy. Research in such fields has identified various sorts of learning. For example, learning may occur consciously or unconsciously through classical conditioning, operant conditioning, and habituation. In addition, complex activities such as play can also stimulate learning.
As interesting as exploring how learning occurs, the most important thing to understand is how open you are to learning.
How can you develop your intention to learn?
The first step to developing your learning skills is understanding your mindset, learning barriers, and your ability to self-reflect. Talent Transformation provides a free Learning Mindset Quiz that generates a personalized report to help you evaluate your abilities, strengths, and areas for improvement. The personalized feedback offers insights and a roadmap for your personal development. You will also be provided with free Learning Mindset Worksheets to help your overcome your learning barriers.
An intention to learn includes developing a strong desire to learn continuously like an automatic behavior. This requires two fundamental approaches - being open to new ideas and being curious.
A famous study by Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck on mindsets suggests that people hold one of two beliefs about their abilities - either a fixed or a growth mindset.
A fixed mindset is a belief that personality characteristics, talents, and abilities are finite or fixed resources; they can't be altered, changed, or improved. You simply are the way you are. People with this mindset tend to have a polarizing view of themselves—they consider themselves intelligent or average, talented or untalented, a success or a failure. A fixed mindset stunts learning because it eliminates permission not to know something, to fail, or to struggle. The fixed mindset does not allow people the luxury of becoming. They have to already be.
In contrast, a growth mindset suggests that you can grow, expand, evolve, and change. Intelligence and capability are not fixed points but instead traits you can cultivate. A growth mindset releases you from the expectation of being perfect. Failures and mistakes are not indicative of the limits of your intellect but rather tools that inform how you develop. Cultivating a growth mindset can begin with shifting your inner dialogue from beliefs about your ability (a fixed mindset) to thoughts about your opportunities and needs (a growth mindset). For example, move from "I am terrible at being disciplined and focused" to "I need to put in more effort and practice to become focused." Similarly, "I'm not good enough to be a manager" might become "I need some additional experience before I can manage others." Simple restatements have a dramatic impact on what you believe about your abilities.
Curiosity, the catalyst of intentional learning, can be cultivated, even in those who don't consider themselves naturally curious. Think of curiosity as the start button of your learning engine.
Curiosity is inquisitiveness, a need to know more. Research tells us that curiosity matters for three primary reasons. First, inspiration is strongly correlated with an intrinsic desire to learn. Curiosity sparks inspiration. You learn more and more frequently because you are curious. Second, curiosity marks the beginning of a virtuous cycle that feeds your ability as a self-directed learner. Finally, research suggests that curiosity does not diminish with age, so it can serve you at any point in your career. Although your learning methods will change over time, curiosity will keep the spark of motivation alive.
Your DNA or upbringing does not determine your learning ability. However, by understanding more about yourself, you can develop your ability to learn intentionally and build a better life for yourself and those around you.
Take the free Learning Mindset Quiz now to start developing your lifelong learning skill.