Friday, May 30, 2014

Lean Quote: Learn By Doing

On Fridays I will post a Lean related Quote. Throughout our lifetimes many people touch our lives and leave us with words of wisdom. These can both be a source of new learning and also a point to pause and reflect upon lessons we have learned. Within Lean active learning is an important aspect on this journey because without learning we can not improve.

"What we have to learn to do, we learn by doing.— Louis Pasteur

One way to enhance learning is by doing. If you want to learn how to drive, you have to drive. Humans are natural learners. They learn from everything they do. When they watch television, they learn about the day's events. When they take a trip, they learn about how to get where they are going and what it is like to be there. This constant learning also takes place as one works.

Learning by doing, also known as experiential learning, happens when you use hands-on learning to engage in an ongoing cycle of action and reflection, deepening your understanding of concepts and mastering practical skills. As you take part in meaningful activities—instead of simply watching them—and then later evaluating what you have learned, learning is far more meaningful, memorable, and long-lasting. Leaders/coaches assist in this process by facilitating appropriate experiences through which you can learn, and by leading discussions that reflect on those experiences.

If you do something often enough, you get better at it -- simple and obvious. When people really care about what they are doing, they may even learn how to do their jobs better than anyone had hoped. They themselves wonder how to improve their own performance. They innovate.

Since mistakes are often quite jarring to someone who cares about what they are doing, people naturally work hard to avoid them. No one likes to fail. It is basic to human nature to try to do better and this means attempting to explain one's failures well enough so that they can be remedied. This self-correcting behavior can only take place when one has been made aware of one's mistakes and when one cares enough to improve. If an employee understands and believes that an error has been made, he will work hard to correct it, and will want to be trained to do better, if proper rewards are in place for a job well done.

Human beings can definitely learn by hearing, reading, watching, seeing, and analyzing…but when it comes to getting results you simply cannot learn better than to learn by DOING. The best way to learn about continuous improvement is to simply try to make things better and learn from our mistakes.

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