Below is a process called 7 Levels of Learnings.
Create a deeper understanding of the process of learning. Improve your individual and organizational abilities to learn new skills, develop new habits and enhance innovation through the application of the 7 Levels of Learning.
“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.” ~Alvin Toffler
Learning is a learned process and skill that must be continually developed. Most working adults consider learning a process that took place back in school. Even the lip service that we often given to our own willingness to learn new skills, or our belief that we have an open-mind frequently becomes overshadowed by our ego, pride and the all-powerful comfort zone.
Learning, ongoing learning, and life-long learning are no longer options – today’s world demands a continuous evolution of knowledge, skills and behaviors. Today’s world demands leaders that can adapt, adjust, expand, develop, grow – and of course LEARN. The 7 Levels of Learning will make this often passive event an active, conscious process.
Review the 7 Levels of Learning model and the corresponding definitions as they relate to the process of understanding and improving learning. Dedicate time and attention to the process of learning.
Awareness: an alert conscious state in which you are aware of yourself and your situation
Reflection: the process of careful thought, consideration and attentive contemplation
Insight: a clear and often sudden breakthrough in understanding and perception
Connection: the process of linking insights and ideas together to make associations, create relationships and recognize patterns
Decision: the act of choosing, assessing, selecting, analyzing and prioritizing
Focus: to concentrate energy and attention; to converge for maximum clarity
Action: the behavior of doing, achieving and accomplishing; the power of movement and productive direction
Think of a personal growth and learning opportunity. Write this learning opportunity in a journal and continue working through the 7 Levels of Learning while capturing your thoughts. The first three levels of this process often occur quickly – allow yourself to express your thoughts in a ‘stream of consciousness’ format. Levels 4 through 7 have been designed to take your insights to the level of true learning. The whole process must be followed in order to anchor in learning and develop new habits. Allow your ideas and feelings to flow freely as you journal at each of the 7 Levels of Learning. An example has been provided below.
Learning opportunity: DEMONSTRATE ENTHUSIASM DAILY
Level 1: Awareness: an alert conscious state in which you are aware of yourself and your situation
I became aware that I was demonstrating a lack of enthusiasm during department meetings. I received feedback that I had an intense look and scowl on my face. I became aware that I did not look forward to attending meetings.
Level 2: Reflection: the process of careful thought, consideration and attentive contemplation
I reflected back on the meeting to consider what I may have been feeling and thinking about. I thought about the meeting agenda, my day and the week.
Level 3: Insight: a clear and often sudden breakthrough in understanding and perception
Several insights struck me as I realized how overwhelmed I felt as I entered the meeting. I knew my mind was racing with ‘to do’ lists and deadlines. I had an ‘aha!’ moment when I realized my stress came from procrastinating an important task.
Level 4: Connection: the process of linking insights and ideas together to make associations, create relationships and recognize patterns
I began connecting other times that I had received similar feedback about my facial expressions. I realized that I was not truly present at the meetings and so therefore I was not smiling and certainly not demonstrating any enthusiasm. I observed a pattern in my behavior as I considered how I invested my time.
Level 5: Decision: the act of choosing, assessing, selecting, analyzing, and prioritizing
I decided to assess my tasks and prioritize my schedule. I created a plan, choosing the most important steps that I would take action on throughout the week. I decided to show up differently at my next meeting.
Level 6: Focus: to concentrate energy and attention; to converge for maximum clarity
I focused my energy on consciously smiling, sitting up tall, and engaging in future meetings. I focused on the feeling of enthusiasm, keeping my attention on the look of my face, the posture of my body and inflection of my voice. I visualized my enthusiasm level at today’s 4:00 p.m. meeting.
Level 7: Action: the behavior of doing, achieving, and accomplishing; the power of movement and productive direction
At 3:50 p.m. I took action to close out my current task and wrote down when I would pick it back up. I put a smile on my face and walked intently towards the conference room. I said hello to each person as they walked in and enthusiastically shook everyone’s hand. I sat up straight, engaged in the conversation, and offered many ideas and suggestions. I felt productive and energized as the meeting came to an end. I anchored in this feeling of accomplishment and the action of enthusiasm!
Note: It’s suggested to run back through the 7 Levels of Learning to reinforce the learning opportunity and hardwire this new behavior. Complete your own learning opportunity, journal each step and repeat the process once the action has been taken.
Select another personal learning opportunity and repeat the above process.
Select a team learning opportunity and discuss each of the 7 Levels of Learning as a group. Use a flip chart to capture the group’s thoughts at each level. Be aware that when this exercise is completed as a group, that there will be several answers at every level. This is to be expected, especially because the power and brilliance of brainstorming happens with the generation of multiple insights and connections. It also produces collaborative decision making and focused action!
Throughout the next week, become conscious of ongoing learning opportunities. Stop and think through each of the 7 Levels of Learning: Awareness, Refection, Insight, Connection, Decision, Focus and Action. Make it a habit to go through this process several times a day.
There are several factors that influence an individual’s success and yet everything fails in comparison to the importance of learning, growing, and improving as a person. Learning to learn is the process of developing your strengths, enhancing capabilities, and increasing effectiveness. All effectiveness begins with personal effectiveness. This is the essence of Rapport Leadership International’s training and our philosophy of leadership development:
When you improve the person,
the performance improves.
When you improve the performance,
the business improves,
the family improves,
the community improves.
Sources: Learning to Lead by Warren Bennis and Joan Goldsmith
The Fifth Discipline Field Book by Senge, Ross, Smith, Roberts, and Kleiner