By Osman Hj. Kamaluddin
There are two main types of learning. The first type is simple learning and in this type of learning, there is a gap between what you know and what you want to know. The learning process would be the actions you take to close the gap and the results are feedback leading to increased knowledge or skills. The feedback lets you know whether you are approaching your goal. If the actions you take bring you nearer to your goal, that is, closing the gap, then you do more of them i.e. the actions you take. But if it is the other way round i.e. the actions you take, increases the gap, then you do less of them. Solving the problem is closing the gap.
Simple learning and problem solving take place within a boundary of assumptions and beliefs about what is possible and necessary. For example, a person may get frequent headaches and because of this, goes to see a doctor. The doctor then prescribes some painkillers to be taken. The person goes home, feeling happy and the next time, he/she has a headache, he/she takes the painkillers. Simple problem, simple solution! An example from business would be a company that wants to invest in a more modern and faster manufacturing machine/plant. They try a number of possibilities and settle on the most cost-effective one. Later, the plant is built and running to full capacity. Another simple problem, simple solution!
The other type of learning is generative learning. Generative learning brings our beliefs and assumptions about the issues into the feedbacks we received. Feedbacks from our actions lead us to question our beliefs and assumptions! As in the previous examples, the person might question why he/she is getting frequent headaches. That person might find out later that he/she needs to change his/her lifestyle or diet. That person may also be curious about taking charge of his/her own health, rather than looking to the medical doctor to fix all his/her health problems.
In the business example, the company might want to question whether it is worth investing in the new equipment for a product that might be out of date at a later stage. They might question further, whether they are in the right market and think about other/new products rather than assume, they can continue to do what they have been always doing!
Osman Hj. Kamaluddin is a marine surveyor who has for the past many years researched and observed on accelerated learning techniques. He is also a Certified Practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) & NLP Coaching.