Is HBR Really Talking About Learning Transfer?

Emma Weber

Harvard Business Review have been talking about the importance of reflection again, and I wondered if really they had been looking under the hood of our methodology for an exposé! It was great to read their article last week from Jennifer Porter titled “Why You Should Make Time for Self-Reflection (Even If You Hate Doing It)”. They’re preaching to the converted here in the Lever – Transfer of Learning offices!

Jennifer talks about how reflection allows the brain to pause, untangle and sort through experiences, consider options and create meaning. The meaning can then become learning, which knocks on to future mindsets and behaviours – crucial for continuous growth and development.

She reviews how reflection for many can lead to discomfort, vulnerability, defensiveness and more, but clarifies how the process can lead to valuable insights and reward. This is one of the reasons why truly deep reflection is hard to achieve using technology as a prompt. Often reflection needs another person to safely hold the environment to work through discomfort and vulnerability. If you’ve never met the person and won’t ever meet them – the better it is!!

Referring to research from Giada Di Stefano, Francesca Gino, Gary Pisano, and Bradley Staats she outlines how those who reflect on lessons learnt can improve performance by 23% compared to those who did not reflect. They also found that reflecting on learning and experience is in fact far more influential than learning from experience.

Another recent paper from Ruth Helyer (2015) found that when done well, reflection can facilitate ongoing learning and also provide a structure to make sense of learning so that it can be embedded into real change. Check out our 6 Reflection Tools to Boost Your Learning

Together with Lentum Ltd. and the University of Sussex we are excited to be digging through the data in our exclusive, brand new learning transfer research findings. We will reveal all in our upcoming webinar and full report, but one of the most interesting findings was that an overwhelming 66% of respondents felt their approach to behavioural change post learning could be improved.

Bring on the reflection!

Strive for real change through structured reflection. Add in some accountability and you’ll have a hard to beat formula for success. Whenever you’re planning your next learning initiative, take a moment to consult with our learning transfer manifesto. Ask yourself, where you can turn your aspirations into a reality and implement elements of successful learning transfer to create business impact from learning.

Register for my webinar with Mark Arneill from Lentum to find out more of our EXCLUSIVE findings from our BRAND NEW Learning Transfer Research and join the waiting list to be the FIRST to receive the full report. Discover what’s happening for Learning & Development professionals right now in organisations around the world and understand how it relates to your initiatives.

Emma Weber

Emma Weber is a recognized authority on the transfer of learning. As CEO of Lever – Transfer of Learning, she has helped companies such as Telstra, Oracle and BMW deliver and measure tangible business results from learning. Emma has also been a guest speaker at learning effectiveness conferences worldwide and authored the hugely successful book Turning Learning into Action. Much more detail around the issues and solutions examined in this article are available in the book – please feel free to download a free chapter.