Learning by doing
Learning by doing involves hands-on experience and practice in order to gain knowledge and skills. This approach to learning emphasizes active participation and experimentation to create an understanding of a subject or task. In management, learning by doing is a useful strategy for employees to gain firsthand experience in their roles and to develop their capabilities. It involves trial and error, feedback, and reflection, which leads to improved performance in their role. Learning by doing provides an opportunity for employees to explore their responsibilities and develop competencies with real-world applications. This approach can increase motivation and engagement, resulting in a more engaged and productive workforce.
Example of learning by doing
- A project manager who is assigned a new project can learn by doing by reviewing the project plan, asking questions to their team, and monitoring the project’s progress. They can get a firsthand experience of how the project works by observing how tasks are completed, attending meetings, and providing feedback on the project’s progress.
- A customer service representative might learn by doing by shadowing a more experienced team member, attending customer service trainings, and practicing customer service techniques. Through this, they will gain an understanding of the company’s policies and procedures and develop the skills to successfully assist customers.
- A salesperson can learn by doing by tracking customer interactions and taking notes on what works and what doesn’t. They can observe successful sales techniques, practice their own sales pitches, and gain insight into the customer’s needs and wants. This experience will help them develop the skills and knowledge to effectively close sales.
Formula of learning by doing
The formula for learning by doing is:
Learning = Doing + Reflection + Feedback
This formula highlights that learning is not simply a passive process but involves active engagement. Doing is the active engagement with the task at hand, including hands-on practice and experimentation. Reflection involves considering the experience of doing and what was learned in the process. Feedback is the critical evaluation of the task and the results of the doing, which can help to identify areas for improvement. Together, these three components create a cycle of learning that can help to foster a deeper understanding of a given task or skill.
When to use learning by doing
Learning by Doing is an effective approach for employees to acquire knowledge and skills, and can be applied in different situations. It is particularly useful when:
- there is a need to learn a complex skill or process;
- there is a need to gain a better understanding of a specific task;
- there is a need to develop expertise in a new role;
- there is a need to respond quickly to changing circumstances or conditions;
- there is a need to troubleshoot problems and identify solutions;
- there is a need to practice and refine existing skills;
- there is a need to develop flexibility and agility in responding to different problems;
- there is a need to gain confidence in a new role or responsibility.
Learning by Doing provides employees with the opportunity to gain experience in real-world situations and to develop the necessary competencies to be successful in their roles. This approach can also help to increase motivation and engagement, resulting in increased productivity and a more successful workforce.
Types of learning by doing
Learning by doing is an effective approach to acquiring knowledge and skills. It involves hands-on practice, experimentation, and active participation to create an understanding of a subject or task. There are several types of learning by doing, including:
- Practical Training: Practical training is a form of learning by doing that involves hands-on experience in order to gain the necessary skills for a job. It is a great way for employees to gain real-world experience and to develop competencies that can be used in their roles.
- Experiential Learning: Experiential learning is a type of learning by doing that involves learning through experience. This approach encourages learners to explore and reflect on their experiences in order to gain a better understanding of the subject.
- Simulation: Simulation is another form of learning by doing that involves creating an environment that mimics real-world conditions. This approach can be used to practice skills, test theories, and experiment with different strategies.
- Role-Playing: Role-playing is a form of learning by doing that involves putting oneself in the position of another person or character in order to gain a better understanding of the situation. This approach can be used to practice problem-solving, communication, and negotiation skills.
- Project-Based Learning: Project-based learning is a type of learning by doing that involves working on a project from start to finish. This approach gives learners the opportunity to apply their knowledge and skills in a real-world setting.
Steps of learning by doing
- Understand the task: Before attempting to learn by doing, it is important to understand the task or concept you are trying to learn. Understand the objectives and expectations of the task and the associated risks and rewards.
- Trial and error: Learning by doing involves a trial and error process. Experiment with different approaches to the task and use feedback to adjust and improve your performance.
- Ask questions: Don't be afraid to ask questions. Asking questions will help you gain clarity and better understand the task.
- Reflect and learn: After each attempt, take time to reflect on your performance and identify areas of improvement. Use this learning to inform and adjust your approaches in the future.
- Practice: Practicing the task will help you gain confidence and become more proficient.
- Receive feedback: Receiving feedback from others is an important part of the learning by doing process. Use this feedback to adjust your approaches and improve your performance.
- Develop skills: Learning by doing will help you develop the skills necessary to become more proficient in the task.
- Review results: Once you have completed the task, take time to review your results. Reflect on what you did well and identify areas of improvement. Use this information to inform your future approaches.
Advantages of learning by doing
Learning by doing is an effective way to learn and can bring great benefits to both employees and employers. It increases motivation and engagement, resulting in a more productive and engaged workforce. Here are some of the main advantages of learning by doing:
- It encourages active participation and experimentation, which helps employees gain firsthand experience and develop their capabilities.
- It helps employees to explore their responsibilities and identify areas where they need to improve.
- It encourages creative thinking and problem-solving skills, which can be beneficial in many areas.
- It provides an opportunity for employees to practice and refine their skills in a safe and controlled environment.
- It allows employees to learn from their mistakes, which can lead to improved performance.
- It can help to develop strong relationships between employees and managers.
Limitations of learning by doing
Learning by doing can be an effective learning method, but it also has some limitations. These include:
- Time constraints: Learning by doing can take a considerable amount of time, which can be an issue for organizations with limited resources.
- Limited scope: This approach can only provide a limited scope of learning, as it is difficult to cover all aspects of a subject or task in a single experience.
- Limited access: It is more difficult to access the resources needed for learning by doing, such as mentors, materials, and equipment, in some cases.
- Risk of failure: As this approach involves trial and error, there is always a risk of failure, which can be discouraging for learners.
- Cost: Learning by doing can be expensive, as it requires resources such as materials, equipment, and mentors.
|Learning by doing — recommended articles
|Skills development — Training and development — Process of learning — New team member — Learning from experience — Managerial skill — Knowledge and experience — Internal training — Personal knowledge
- Arrow, K. J. (1971). The economic implications of learning by doing (pp. 131-149). Palgrave Macmillan UK.