Are we really learning? LO20310
Mon, 4 Jan 1999 09:33:16 -0500

Replying to LO20286 --

In response to "Are we really learning? LO20286"

With all due respect to Stephen Covey, who has popularized a lot of useful
notion, he is really most gifted at taking other people's ideas and
expanding upon them (and writing lots of books and tapes about them...).
The notion of dependence to Interdependence is not new to him. I'd like
to add here a probably pertinent outline of the Competency Acquisition
Process, as defined by the late David McClelland, motivational
psychologist and learning innovator:

Recognition: "I know it when I see it"--I can't tell you what they
are doing exactly, but I can point to someone and tell you they have a

Understanding: "I know how it works" -- understanding it from the
inside, able to reproduce or at least describe the thinking and behavior
of someone with a given competency (but note this is not the same as
actually choosing to do it)

Self-Assessment: "I know how I stand against it" -- measuring yourself
against the competency--arousing the actual-ideal gap that leads to a
desire to improve

Experimentation: "I am trying it out" -- Experimenting with new
behaviors and thoughts of a competency, expecting to fail. This is best
done under safe circumstances (e.g, a low-risk situation or in a
simluation in a training course).

Skill Practice: "I am getting better" -- Getting consistent at
displaying the new behaviors and thoughts.

Job Integration: "I am doing it regularly" -- mastery of the new
competency, integration into daily life

Feedback(to #3): "I know how I stand now." -- getting the feedback
cycle going, to continue development.

The advantage of this kind of approach is that it focuses on actually
using the concepts rather than only knowing how to use the concepts (the
classic failure of education). Note that most traditional learning
efforts (including books and videos) only focus on the first two steps,
but there is no way to ensure personal change until you embark on the
remaining steps. The test of learning to me is that something changes.

Steve Kelner, Ph.D
Director, Educational and Advising Services
Center for Quality of Management


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