Thursday, June 14, 2018

11 Powerful Characteristics of Adaptable Learners

Most of what is learned in the traditional approach to school is not adaptable learning. It is discrete learning. It's focused on a specific body of knowledge and isn't always transferable to new situations. Yesterday's learning is in silos with distinct separation among the disciplines. It's the type of learning that was useful in a world where you could train for a profession and be assured of relative stability in that profession for many years.

Gone are those days.

Our world is moving extremely fast. We can't even fathom how fast things are changing. We're too close to the change to get a sense of the magnitude. 

How can we deal with this increased complexity and uncertainty? Change is accelerating. And that creates a need for a different type of learning. In Future Driven, I write that adaptable learners will own the future.

So what makes an adaptable learner? Here are 11 characteristics.

1. Recognize Your Environment Is Constantly Changing

Adaptable learners are ready. They embrace change. It's not just small changes we're talking about. It's a tidal wave of change that's coming. Change is accelerating exponentially. You must be willing to adapt.

2. Reject Comfort and Complacency

You can't adjust to the changes, meet the challenges, or take advantage of the opportunities without stepping out of your comfort zone.

3. Take Ownership of Results

It's not helpful to blame poor outcomes on changing circumstances. The adaptable learner looks inward first to find solutions. There's a stubbornness to find a way or make a way.

4. Show Willingness to Collaborate

No one person can have all the skills needed to meet the challenges of rapid change. But together, it's possible to leverage our shared abilities for the good of our team.

5. Build Resilience and Perseverance

In an uncertain learning environment, there will be mistakes. It's important to learn from these mistakes and press on. It's critical to stay with difficult problems and try different solutions.

6. Demonstrate Care for Others

I believe adaptable learners are caring learners. People find better solutions when there is a larger purpose. When people are caring learners, it makes the learning meaningful.

7. Be Open to Changing Your Mind

No one has it all figured out. Have strong opinions loosely held. If presented with new evidence, be willing to take a new position.

8. Be Flexible in Your Methods, Focused on Your Mission

Our methods and practices must change with the times, but our process of adapting can continue. And ultimately, the mission can continue. 

9. Be Eager to Try New Things and Learn New Skills

Adaptable learners are constantly picking up new skills and adjusting previous skills. There has to be a willingness to do something new even if it's hard at first.

10. Be Open to Feedback

Feedback is a necessary ingredient to learning. Don't feel threatened by feedback. Pursue feedback. And use it to adapt and learn.

11. Develop Confidence in Your Ability to Learn

Most people are frightened by the thought of rapid change. But the adaptable learner feels a sense of confidence. When you believe in your ability to learn and solve problems, you view challenges as opportunities.

How are these characteristics being developed in your classroom or school? Are your students ready? Will they thrive in an unpredictable world? Leave a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter. I want to hear from you.

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