Organisations today are witnessing high levels of competition. In the advent of the recession we have seen many organisation struggles to survive and some have gone burst. Organisations today are on a look out for employee that can demonstrate their ability to learn and develop innovate ideas, products and services that can give them an edge on competition. With so many graduate and not enough jobs, its all about you and your ability to sell yourself, that can take you to the next level of you career.
This establishes the need for Personal development. Understanding the nature of learning, and the different styles in which people learn, is crucial, in order to promote individual personal development and business profitability within organizations credo reference (2009a) What is Personal Development According to Guirdham (2002) Personal development is about satisfying our potential, increasing our ability and continuous improvement at work and life with meaning and satisfaction.
This can be distinguished from organisational development which looks at the individual fulfilling organisation needs, while on the other hand Personal development addresses individual work development and lifestyle issues (David and Stephen, 2010).
Guirdham (2002, p. 132) goes on to argues that the choice to develop our self is in our own hand. ‘ Other can set the scene, supply role models, give encouragement, provide support, propose methods and means, set up mechanism, give advice, impart knowledge and provide contacts but the learner is a the heart of the development process.
Examples of this situation can be seen at work place environment where some certain individuals can make use of a particular technology i. e. computer program and yet another can’t despite working in that organisation for a long while. From the individual perspective, Personal development is about how you deal with life; control your feelings, emotions, and reactions. Personal development enables you acquiring high level of transferable skill; like critical refection, working creatively with others, self-direction, self-disciple, management of time and resource, and learning to deal with all situation in a positive manner.
These skills can be transfer to the work place. Guirdham and Tyler (1992) list some of these skills as follows: * Self Management. Involves accountability for own live, and getting to know ourselves. * Learning. acquiring new knowledge, behaviours, skills, values, or preferences and drawing on cognitive, behaviourist and experimental learning theories. * Obtaining and using good quality information. * Recognising, creating and evaluating opportunities. * Performing . satisfying other by what we produce. * Changing.
Adapting and assisting other to adapt to change from the environment. For Personal development to be achievable it must be carefully planned, structured and reflected upon, this is otherwise know as Personal Development Planning. This process also involves acquiring skills and knowledge. This brings too the fore the importance of Continuous Learning, which is a learning process that does not cease, and will lead to the process of attainment of personal development (Carter McNamara, 2010). Learning Theories
Burns (1995) cited in Lee Dunn (2002) defines learning as ‘a relatively permanent change in behaviour with behaviour including both observable activity and internal processes such as thinking, attitudes and emotions. ’ It also should be noted that learning can be informal of formal. They are four models of learning that are important to work. These are cognitive learning, the behaviourist, experimental and double-loop learning (Guirdham, 2002) Cognitive learning Cognitive Learning is a term usually used in the academic field but of late it has been integrated to organisational learning.
Cognitive learning involves acquiring knowledge through present perception and interpreting in the light of past information, which is now stored in the memory for future use. Cognitive learning enables people to learn by using their intuition and perception. Cognitive involves facilitating factors (meaning, motivation, contextual cues) that enable learning process, this will determines if information is stored in the long term or short-term memory (Guirdham, 2002). Behaviourist Learning: This involves learning from experience.
Here learning occurs as a result of a reaction to stimuli. The assumption is that human respond to stimuli from the environment (MDP, 2010). Pavlov (1846-1936) was investigating the conditioned reflex, his findings led to the formulation of the theory of classical conditioning, which involved a natural reflex to stimulus (unconditioned) and a new stimulus you want to associated with the response (conditioned) (Guirdham, 2002) . Double-loop Double-loop learning is based on the assumption that they are two types of learning.
First is the single-loop which occurs when errors are detected and corrected, however without examining the appropriateness of the current way of learning. Mason (1993) sees considers this non-strategic process of learning. On the other hand, double-loop learning takes place when detection and correction of errors is questioned and modification of exiting norms and assumptions are carried out. Fiol and Lyles (1985) see this as higher level learning. Experimental learning: Kolb’s experiential learning model is another widely used model.
This four stage learning process involves learning from experience and reflecting on what has happened, then forming out principles and testing out idea in a new situation see figure 1. 0 (Guirdham, 2002). Figure: Kolb’s experiential learning cycle cited in Dunn (2002) For example if a receptionist is accused of being rude by a client dressed in traditional wear for addressing him as ‘Mr’ rather ‘chief’, then the a learning process is likely to occur whereby the receptionist reflects on the experience, from the refection he then makes he assumption that clients dressed in traditional wears demand to be addressed in line with there culture. At this point he has now completed the conceptualisation stage, the next stage with be testing out his idea by addressing in the demanded way (Guridham, 2002).
Reflectors learners make sense of experiences by reflecting on them, and take their time to reflection and make decision (Honey and Mumford 1986, cited in Steve Wheeler, 2001). However the Learning Style is not without its criticisms as problems about its reliability, validity and the learning cycle were found by the Coffield research team (Coffield 2004, cited in Stan d. Lvie 2009) On the other hand using your preferred learning style will allow you to learn and gain new experience. However, you can make learning more effectual by embracing different learning styles in addition to your preferred learning style. One learning style cannot be considered adequate credo reference (2009b) argues that the use of one learning style put you in the danger of getting in a repetitive cycle, where learning slow down or stop altogether These are the results of your inventory. The scores are out of 20 for each style. A score of 20 indicates you use that style often.