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The Power of Learning By Doing

Jul 26 2018

Are you wondering what a blue flag has got to do with learning methodology?

Well, the Naval ‘Blue Peter’ flag (above) carries many excellent parallels to leadership and life.

This flag is displayed anytime a Naval ship leaves the safety of harbour and heads into the unknowns of the wide ocean. A bit like a young person heading into the unknown of a big, wide world. How well will they cope with the unknown? So it was chosen as the symbol of a global, personal development program called “Outward Bound”, building resilience for young adults.

Outward Bound, is designed around these “learning by doing” principles.

Adult Learning that Sticks

Adult learning is at its best when it is hands-on, real and relevant. That is one of the many reasons I include it in the design of team and leadership programs with my clients.

Good leaders know the value of ‘learning by doing’. Isn’t life just one big classroom anyway?!

In my past life I was an instructor and program manager for Outward Bound Australia. “Learning by Doing” was the motto for the Outward Bound school. It is powerful as you learn what leadership works, and what doesn’t, in real time.

Are your people hungry and lost?

When you are hungry and lost, its amazing how quickly people want to then learn how to use their map and compass!! People’s natural strengths and weaknesses are exposed quickly.

This, combined with high quality feedback around leadership style and effectiveness, makes for a high quality, relevant learning experience such as Bridgeworks’ Leadership NOW program.

I have always believed that if you can make the learning practical, fun and relevant, people remember the experience for many years. Isn’t that what learning should be like any way?

Any barriers or ‘push back’ give way to greater openness, a safer emotional environment and increased personal learning.

How to Maximise Leadership Learning

So, how do we achieve the best results from our learning? Ensure the following:

  1. The learning environment is outdoors, practical & hands on
  2. Critical measures around leadership & behaviours are foundational to the process
  3. Create a ‘place apart’ from the usual business environment setting; a challenging yet safe space such as our next Leadership NOW program at the wild Cape Liptrap (29-31 August)

Finally, when assessing your next training or leadership program, ask yourself:

  • Will the learning be lasting?
  • Does the process bring to life the realities of leading others – beyond techniques and theories?
  • Will it fully engage participants in the learning?

If you are after a powerful, long lasting leadership process, check out our Leadership NOW program. Limited places are still available on our August program (29th-31st).