In our work we often find people talking about creating knowledge like it was a commodity. Something that can be bought or sold. Something to be transferred from one person to another. Unfortunately, this is not the case. When we attend a course, read a book, participate in a webinar, most times, we are only receiving information. It may come from research, the person’s lived life or a good story.
Information cannot just be inhaled and turned into knowledge. It needs to be reflected on, made meaning of either alone or with others. It then becomes thoughts, wonderings, ideas. We make connections with what we already know and decide whether we wish to pursue some action around our thoughts. Finding authentic opportunities to trial a new action comes next. This is the time when that information is waiting to morph into some new baseline knowledge for us as we test it. Our initial actions may feel awkward, strange or down right counter intuitive at times. Why is that?
All of this is governed by our deep-seated mental models, our values, beliefs and assumptions. These mental models are unique to each and every one of us because they have been created by our lived life. They inform us whether something feels ‘right’ or not. They colour our perspective of the world. Mental models are very resistant to change. They have influenced our life this far and worked. They allow us to feel comfortable. When we go through the process of learning something new our brain has so much work to do. We need to lay down new pathways to form new ways of doing things, new habits. This is hard work and requires ongoing focus.
Real learning, deep learning takes time. It isn’t a one off ‘get it’ and move on. In our first time behind the wheel none of us handle the car like five times Indy Car Champion, Scott Dixon. That takes years and years of focus and practice, plus natural talent to get to expert level. Most of us will never get to Scott’s standard. However we hopefully reach a level of competence that keeps ourselves and others safe on the road.
When we create meaning socially with others we add huge value to the new knowledge. It allows our mind to rub up against another and at times that can feel like sandpaper. This process however helps us be discerning as we create our new knowledge and take on different perspectives. It helps us to be well considered and mindful of different world views. It helps us to be able to walk in the shoes of a learner and keeps life exciting and fresh.
Do you truly want to change, reflect, take on new learning, make it your own and refresh your life? Deep learning takes time. How often do we grant ourselves the time and space to gain practical knowledge and expertise? Even in our fast-paced world, because it cannot be done in the blink of an eye, anything worth having still takes time. Give yourself the space to action and enjoy your learning.
Mary and Lab Wilson (the Bats Team)