If you calculated the amount of time and money you have spent on training in your professional career, what would that add up to in terms of dollar amount and hours spent? You would need to include your formal education in that equation.
From the last seminar that you attended, can you list your top seven takeaways without referring to any notes or conference material?
Or, (not to step on any toes) but what was the message about two weeks ago in your place of worship?
You might be able to recall all of this information quickly, but if you can’t, you are not alone. Look at these results from a study on adult learning done by the National Testing Labs in Bethel, Maine which I am borrowing from the Accelerated Coaching Training Manual from the Lifeforming Institute.
They found that retention rate from lectures (two weeks later) hovers around 5%. However, for discussion retention rises to 50%; for hands-on learning, it reaches 70% and when learners teach the material to others, retention hits 90% – nearly 20 times more than from a lecture!
What is it the Chinese Proverb says?
“I hear, I forget, I see, I remember, I do, I understand.”
What makes teaching others so potent is that you primarily teach yourself. You engage in the content at an entirely different level. Dare I say you enter into the spirit of the material. You take ownership of it – at least the opportunity for this is greater. You go farther into the following learning cycle.
Step 1: Challenge
Step 2: Learning (information gathering)
Step 3: Application
Step 4: Reflection – which circles back to the challenge.
The shortcoming of many modalities is that without intentional engagement on the part of the learner, they stop at the information dump step. They miss out on the outcomes of the “Application” and “Reflection” Steps. Even if you throw in a test to prove information has been retained, you have no guarantee the information has been applied beyond a momentary regurgitation. The outcome of application is skill development. The reflection step opens the door to character development. This is why a philosophy based in the premise that people are empty vessels that just need to be filled with the right information does produce people who are any wiser or more effective and successful in their personal or professional lives. There is no denying that a diploma, degree, or certification can open doors and add credibility. But you and I can name people with plenty of letters behind their name who lack the character for the positions they hold.
Character is the difference. The American education system caught onto this about thirty years ago and has worked very hard to incorporate character development into school cultures. I defy you to walk into any public school and not see a poster or banner promoting character development. But you can’t develop character with information alone.
Consider this, you could read every driver training manual available, so much so, that you could ace a written test. But until you get behind the wheel, you are NOT a driver. Eventually, driving happens automatically. That still doesn’t keep you from driving like you are the only one on the road. It doesn’t protect you from the fallacy that where you are driving is much more important than the destination or arrival time of every other driver. It also doesn’t protect you from habitual road rage.
When you consider the internalization that happens in the latter steps of the learning cycle and then you add that to a person who takes ownership of the entire cycle, you can understand why Jim Rohn said,
“Formal education will make you a living, but self-education will make you a fortune (rich).”
Reflection causes you to go inward. When you go inward your tap into resources previously undiscovered. If you are willing, you also see the gaps and blocks that get in the way of success. This is where a proper coach can enter the equation and add tremendous value and growth than previously experienced. Tomorrow I will begin to tell you why and how this happens.
See you then.