Own experience important for learning new things

How does our ability to learn new things change as we get older? Britta Börjeson, Learning Expert at the Volvo Group University, explains why.
Britta Börjeson

“We retain our ability to learn new things, but, in order to learn, we need to feel that it is relevant. By linking what we learn directly to our experiences and the challenges we face, it is easier for us to assimilate what we learn.”

How do you adapt the training at the Volvo Group University to factor this in?

“The training has to be put into a context that feels meaningful to the participants and different sessions before, during and after the training are linked to real work challenges. As adults, some 70 per cent of our knowledge comes from our own experience, around 20 per cent from exchanges with other people and only 10 per cent from theory and formal studies. When we design our training, we want to give the participants the opportunity to share their experiences.”

What do people need to think about when they teach adults?

“They need to ask them about their experiences and what they do and not impose their own thoughts and ideas on them. The participants will then reveal what they think is important and this enables us to build on that and exchange experiences that engage the group.”

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