In my recent article, “Eating humble pie isn’t so bad”, I referred to the concept of “unconscious ignorance” – or “unconscious incompetence”.
This follow up article is a further reflection on the same topic.
Truth be told, when I first conceived the article, I had no idea that I was entering a “ learning” minefield.
Just to be clear, “rote” learning is defined as a memorisation technique based on repetition. The idea is that one will be able to quickly recall the meaning of the material the more one repeats it. The principle is based on repetition resulting in the subject matter being internalised.
The short answer to the question is yes – and no.
I think it is safe to say that all learning is good.
In the end, the appropriate method of learning depends on what is being learned and the purpose.
In reality, given the learning alternatives available, the approach needs to align with the objective, the subject matter, and the application of the knowledge.
Of course we all know that in these times Google has become the source of all knowledge.
And that we can instantly gain access to all kinds of information.
But can we say- or equate -information and facts with knowledge.
I am by no means an educationist, so am probably on dangerous ground.
As an amateur, I would define learning as the process of acquiring knowledge with the intention to use or apply the knowledge and knowledge as the assimilation and retention of facts and information.
As opposed to rote learning, there are variety of alternative learning methods, including associative learning, active learning, applied leaning, cognitive learning and meaningful learning. Clearly each method has its own characteristics and focus.
What is meaningful learning?
Meaningful learning refers to the concept of learning the subject or topic with a clear and complete understanding of all the related facts, concepts and principles.
Meaningful learning in today’s competitive world holds the key to success.
Success comes from the ability to apply what we have learned.
Once we learned something by the meaningful method with full clarity, we are able to relate that knowledge with every relevant piece of information about that topic in our brain and possess a confidence of utilizing that information properly in our profession.
In fact, our brain is designed for meaningful learning.
So what is my purpose in this investigation of the alternative methods of learning.
By now, readers of my blogs will know that my specialisation and passion relates to corporate financial modelling.
Meaningful learning is the process we use when we embark on financial modelling training courses.
The method of presentation, supported by practical examples is designed to transfer knowledge and understanding – and underscored by the hands-on approach, ensures that delegates are able to apply what has been learned.
Financial models are based on four pillars of knowledge and understanding:
- Essential Excel for financial modelling
- Basic accounting and financial statements
- Corporate Financial metrics and evaluation processes
- Financial modelling best practice methodology
Whilst it is not uncommon for attendees to have knowledge and sometimes competence in the first three, invariably the real learning pertains to the last item – Financial modelling best practice methodology.
The reality of best practice financial modelling today is that there are guidelines and processes and international standards.
Financial modelling is a process and once identified and understood can be learned and applied across a variety of business situations and projects.
It is an essential tool for every financial professional.
According to the CEO of a leading specialist financial recruitment company in Johannesburg, financial modelling has become a “must have” skill when recruiting for senior financial positions.
Simplistically put – properly researched and properly built, flexible, appropriate financial models are indispensable tools to assist management to make informed decisions.
In today’s complex and volatile world, I sometimes wonder how effectively businesses can be managed without them.