Cre­at­ing a learn­ing space for growth

Finweek English Edition - - INSIGHT -

KAHLIL GI­BRAN SAID a wise teacher “does not bid you en­ter the house of his wis­dom, but rather leads you to the thresh­old of your own mind.” Busi­ness schools need to move away from tra­di­tional ed­u­ca­tion where the fo­cus is on tech­ni­cal knowl­edge and skills com­mu­ni­cated through lec­tures and even case stud­ies with no be­havioural and emo­tional com­po­nents.

In 2005, Alice and David Kolb in­tro­duced the con­cept of “learn­ing space” in an at­tempt to ex­plain the com­plex, dy­namic na­ture of learn­ing. To cre­ate a learn­ing space that pro­motes growth-pro­duc­ing ex­pe­ri­ences for stu­dents one needs to as­sume that stu­dents are the prin­ci­ple play­ers in the teach­ing-learn­ing trans­ac­tion and not pas­sive minds that need to be filled with the lec­turer’s knowl­edge. There needs to be a shift to­wards per­cep­tion, cre­ative think­ing and learn­ing – in­volv­ing the com­plete be­ing, i.e. head (cog­ni­tive), heart (emo­tion) and hands (phys­i­cal). The im­pact of the three modes stim­u­lated to­gether can shift a stu­dent’s per­spec­tive in a way that a fo­cus on the cog­ni­tive part alone can­not.

Busi­ness Schools should recog­nise the com­plex­ity of the learn­ing en­vi­ron­ment and en­hance the learn­ing space through ex­pe­ri­en­tial learn­ing, which re­quires that the stu­dent ac­tu­ally per­forms the skill in an en­vi­ron­ment as close as pos­si­ble to real life; it al­lows the stu­dent to im­merse in the mi­lieu, prac­tise the skill and re­ceive con­struc­tive feed­back from an ex­pert.

The role of the ed­u­ca­tor is thus to cre­ate the ap­pro­pri­ate en­vi­ron­ment and ob­serve, mea­sure, re­port, de­brief and pro­vide a mech­a­nism for ex­pert feed­back. Learn­ing takes place through a process of trial and er­ror with guid­ance and learn­ing pro­vided through the cor­rect­ing of ex­pert feed­back – feed­back that should be as im­me­di­ate as pos­si­ble but should not in­ter­rupt the learn­ing process of ac­tu­ally per­form­ing the skill.

One can ex­pect that the shift from the sta­tus quo to cre­at­ing learn­ing spa­ces aligned to new ed­u­ca­tion di­rec­tion will be dif­fi­cult. But with­out the shift from the over-em­pha­sis on the sci­ence, logic and teach­ing the op­ti­mal an­swers to con­ver­sa­tional learn­ing, act­ing and re­flect­ing, feel­ing and think­ing, and in­flu­enc­ing, Busi­ness Schools will not al­low stu­dents to take charge of their own learn­ing. Mod­ern man­age­ment re­quires the prac­ti­cal im­ple­men­ta­tion of skills learned, not re­gur­gi­ta­tion of the­ory. Hence, with­out ap­pli­ca­tion knowl­edge, stu­dents will strug­gle to adapt to the ever-chang­ing work­place.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.