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How I Learn: Sukhvinder Pabial

28th Jun 2011

As part of TrainingZone's CPD month we are asking training professionals to share how they learn. Here Sukhvinder Pabial shares how he keeps up-to-date with the latest thinking in learning and development.

How do I learn? It’s a good question that I think has evolved over the years. And it’s not a question I’ve taken the time to think about before. Not explicitly at least.

When I was at college, studying for my A-levels, and thinking about psychology specifically, it was all about your head in your book and learning the material in order to pass your exam. Your coursework was there to add a practical element to the topic.

And if I think back to what I remembered, actually, I remember bits and pieces of a range of topics. Some things I’ve clearly forgotten, but I could give you a broad brush of most topics.

At university it wasn’t that different. I studied psychology further, and the format was broadly the same. Attend a lecture, head down in a book, learn the material and pass the exam. And when I went on to do my post-grad studies, again in psychology (this time occupational psychology specifically), it was still more of the same.

This takes you right up until 2003. In all that time, there were certainly advances in online learning, access to information online, and forums, but they just weren’t very prevalent. Eight years later, and look at the leaps and bounds technology has enabled. Not only has it enabled though, but technology has also given a very different understanding of how we can learn.

"Being in L&D helps me to share what I know. For the purpose that I want others to benefit from it too."

 If I think back to how we were taught about subjects, I don’t think I’d like to go back to those same methodologies. I’d want to see a much better integration from all education institutions of the range of learning resources available. The old way was fine, and I’ve heard about a lot being down to incorporate new methods of learning. I’m slightly jealous not to be able to experience it, but more than happy to wait for my kids to go through it to see for myself.

Personally, I’ve found that I love using online tools and environments to find out things for myself. There’s a lot I don’t understand, that I have some understanding of, or I have a developing understanding of. And I look online to help me find out more. Be it about gadgets, technology, religion, politics, industry news, current thinking in the L&D world, there are a load of places for me to find what I want.

What I crave though, is being able to discuss things with others. And for this I have to attend external events. Be that to speak or to be part of, that’s where I’m able to develop my thoughts into something cohesive and something definable.

But, importantly I like to do stuff with my new learning. I don’t like to just hold on to information. I think that’s the height of arrogance and goes against everything I believe in. So, being in L&D helps me to share what I know. For the purpose that I want others to benefit from it too. And that’s equally how I learn, when I know I can explain something to someone else in a manner that they understand.
 

Sukhvinder Pabial is learning and development business partner for LBi Ltd. He enjoys talking about all things to do with L&D and you can find his thoughts on www.pabial.wordpress.com. He’s also on Twitter (@naturalgrump), although be warned, he does tend to tweet prolifically.

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