Learning for life

I have just completed a very busy period where I provided a great deal of training for a number of organisations. Reflecting on the experience what strikes me is the huge difference in attitudes to learning. At one extreme we have the semi-burnt out cynic who seems determined to let their negativity spoil the positive learning environment I have worked hard to create. Thankfully such people are in a small minority. At the other extreme are the people who become fully immersed in the process of learning. They show an enthusiasm for taking on new ideas, reviewing and/or consolidating their existing knowledge and skills and really want training to make a positive difference to practice. They embrace learning opportunities with zeal, put energy into the process and become energised by it. No doubt the differences in attitudes are in large part personal differences, but I am also aware what a difference organisational culture makes. Organisations can have cultures that are supportive of learning (it is recognised that it is dangerous not to keep learning); take no notice of learning (too busy chasing their tails to learn) ; or actively discourage learning (change is seen as threatening). So, how much learning takes place will depend on (i) the organisational culture; and (ii) to what extent individuals allow themselves to be influenced by their culture vs. the extent to which they take ownership of their own learning.