How to learn at work in the most effective way

How to learn at work in the most effective way

Team development at its best produces lasting behavioral change that, with any luck, results in higher performance metrics, improved communication and better work engagement. Can learning be both fun and productive? In my consulting experience, I’ve found that the most effective kind of learning is indeed fun — and that’s the idea behind an increasingly popular training technique: experiential learning.

While there are probably a number of fancy definitions for experiential learning, at its core it is simply learning by doing and reflecting. When done right, it can help with anything ranging from leadership style and individual and team success to communication and conflict management. To understand how to apply experiential learning, it helps to first take a look at its theoretical roots.

Cycling Through Experiential Learning

In designing or evaluating an experiential learning program, the best place to start is with Kolb’s experiential learning cycle. This theoretical model, inspired by the work of Gestalt psychologist Kurt Lewin, was published by educational theorist David A. Kolb in 1984 and designed to shape learning through experience, perception, cognition and behavior. According to this theory, the learner cycles through four distinct phases, each of which cements learning in a different way:

Concrete Experience. Here the learner encounters a new experience or approaches an existing experience in a new way.

Reflective Observation. In the next stage, the learner reflects on the experience, drawing personal observations and conclusions.

Abstract Conceptualization. At this point, the learner forms new ideas, or modifies existing ones, based on the learnings from the previous reflective observation stage.

Active Experimentation. Finally, the learner applies the new ideas to practice and then evaluates them to see if modifications are required.

The final active experimentation phase then becomes the concrete experience — or first stage — for the next cycle, and it starts all over again. By circulating through the cycle, a person traverses a highly effective pattern of learning reinforcement that quickly translates into new behaviors and skills.

Facing Reality More Effectively By Escaping It

This cycle can be laid out in any number of ways, so there are naturally quite a few techniques for implementing experiential learning, such as role playing, where people act out different roles to address specific learning aims, or simulations, which give them the chance to further stretch into new roles.

Perhaps the most involved and immersive of these, however, is the “escape room,” where teams are put into a situation where they’re challenged with working together to orchestrate a simulated escape from a pretend trap. The scenarios can get pretty creative and colorful, and participants may find themselves playing the part of spies, pirates, astronauts or even the master detective himself, Sherlock Holmes.

In a double entendre, this also offers an “escape” from daily routine and consequently can be extremely fun — so much so that some people pay significant fees to participate in them for pure entertainment value. However, this same propensity for fun also makes escape rooms powerful tools for learning and cementing new skills and therefore great team-building exercises.

Four Steps To Tapping Value From Experiential Learning

Regardless of whether you undertake a fully immersive experience, like an escape room, or something slightly less involved, like role playing, there are a few critical elements that the program must address in order to translate into better performance:

Behavior. Interplay during the activities must shed light on how people naturally tend to approach tasks, communicate and make decisions at work. Escape rooms naturally tend to do this, because the act of solving a challenge often brings the same skills to bear that people leverage in their professions.

Evaluation. At some point shortly after the activity, participants need to have a debrief that explores the observations. This is a critical step because it helps participants develop more self-awareness. (Registration required. Full disclosure: This article was written by a colleague.) Self-awareness is indispensable to shaping new behaviors.

A Safe Space For Reflection. Safe spaces can get a bad rap these days, but in this case, we’re not talking about protecting college students from anything that might possibly offend their sensibilities. Rather, we’re referring to an environment where people can reflect fully on the experiential task and consider the implications of alternative approaches. In some cases, this involves some pretty serious self-critiquing, and this can only happen in an environment where people feel safe enough to openly and honestly evaluate their own performance.

Putting It Into Practice. There must be a systematized way to translate insights into personalized development plans. This can take any number of forms, but in the end, learning must be actionable to be effective.

The bottom line is that effective experiential learning, leveraged as a training technique, makes you aware of not just how you behave but why you act that way by allowing you to face your own behaviors in highly memorable and, dare I say, fun ways. When it’s combined with proper analysis and a plan for putting into practice, that learning tends to stick, and participants develop new, highly desirable skills.

Being properly organized and prepared for tests and exams can make all the difference to school performance. Effective studying starts with the right attitude—a positive outlook can shift studying from a punishment to an opportunity to learn.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach when learning how to effectively study. Studying methods should be tailored to each student. Everyone has different abilities, so it is important to determine what works for you and what doesn’t. (Find out what type of learner you are and which study techniques will work best for you!)

For some students, studying and staying motivated comes easily — others may have to work a little bit harder.

What Is The Most Effective Way To Study?

Finding the best way to study is an ongoing process. It isn’t something that can be left to the night before the test. You should be constantly improving your study skills to better understand what works (and what doesn’t).

Learning how to study better helps avoid panic and frustration the next time a big test is coming up. After all, you are more likely to do well and be less stressed before a test when you have had time to properly review and practice the material!

Mastering effective study habits not only makes it easier to learn but will also help you get better grades in high school and post-secondary.

Discover the 12 secrets to studying effectively that will help you ace your next test.

How To Study Effectively

Get organized

Carry a homework planner at all times. Entering homework, projects, tests and assignments as soon as they are assigned will make sure they aren’t forgotten about.

Pay attention in class

It’s important to concentrate and avoid distractions when the teacher is speaking. Practice active listening by concentrating on what’s being said and taking notes in your own words. This will help make sure you hear (and understand) what is being taught in class.

Steer clear of distractions

Distractions are everywhere—from cell phones to social media to friends. Be aware of what distracts you in class and know how to steer clear of these distractions. Avoid sitting next to friends if you know they will distract you. Turning off your cell phone will also help make sure you are paying attention to your teacher.

Make sure notes are complete

Writing clear and complete notes in class will help you process the information you are learning. These notes will also become study notes that can be reviewed before a test. Talk to friends or the teacher if you have missed a class to ensure your notes are complete.

Ask questions if you don’t understand

Raise your hand and ask questions if you don’t understand something. If you don’t feel comfortable asking in front of everyone, write yourself a reminder to talk to the teacher after class.

Make a study schedule/plan

When making a study schedule, look at your planner and think about what needs to be accomplished. Think about the types of questions that will be on the test and the topics that will be covered so you know what you should focus on. Set specific goals for each study session, like how many topics you will cover by the end of the session.

Start Studying More Effectively

Get more out of your study sessions with the complete study toolkit
including note taking templates, tips, and more.

Review notes from class every evening

After school, review and expand on the notes from class. Reviewing notes helps move material learned from short-term memory into long-term memory, which will help next time you have a big test.

Talk to teachers

Teachers are there to help you do your best. Talk to your teacher and ask for clarification or extra help if you need it before your test. Taking the initiative to ask for help goes a long way with teachers!

Designate a study area

The best study spot is one that is quiet, well-lit, and in a low-traffic area. Make sure there is a clear workspace to study and write on. Everyone’s needs are different, so it is important you find a spot that works for you.

Study in short bursts

For every 30 minutes you study, take a short 10-15 minute break to recharge. Short study sessions are more effective and help you make the most of your study time. Find out more about taking a study break that works.

Simplify study notes

Make studying less overwhelming by condensing notes from class. Underline or highlight key words. Create visual aids like charts, story webs, mind maps, or outlines to organize and simplify information and help you remember better.

Study with a group

Working with classmates encourages an interactive environment to keep you engaged. This gives you a chance to test your knowledge with others, quiz each other on the content, and help boost each other’s confidence.

Study Smart, Not Hard

Knowing how to study effectively is a skill that will benefit you for life. Developing effective study skills requires lots of time and patience. If you follow these tips you’ll be on your way to discovering which type of studying works best for you—so you can knock your next test out of the park!

Find more study tips by watching our video below

Need some extra help? Oxford Learning is here for you. Get more study tips and learning resources to help you succeed in school:

5 Proven Ways to Get the Most Out of Practice Testing

How to learn at work in the most effective way

Practice testing has been proven to be one of the most effective learning techniques. In fact, the cognitive psychology term “testing effect” was coined several decades ago to refer to the finding that taking practice tests on studied material promotes greater subsequent learning and retention on a final test as compared to relying on more common study strategies. Because of the effectiveness of this learning technique, many educators are incorporating more practice testing into their instruction. However, since the term “practice testing” refers to various retrieval-based learning activities that occur under various conditions, it can be hard to know how to put this technique to use most effectively.

The Research

To help educators get the most out of practice testing, three researchers, Olusola Adesope and Narayankripa Sundararajan of Washington State University and Dominic Trevisan of Simon Fraser University, conducted a meta-analysis of the current research available on the effects of practice testing to determine how the magnitude of the effect differs based on different factors. They analyzed a total of 118 articles involving 15,472 participants, and published their findings in February of 2017 in a paper called Rethinking the use of tests: A Meta-Analysis of Practice Testing.

The paper brings up a lot of interesting information about practice testing, also referred to as retrieval practice. Here’s a summary of some of their most useful findings for educators looking to use this technique to improve student achievement.

Which practice test formats work best?

    Mixed format practice tests (which incorporate more than one question type) proved to be the most effective, even if the practice test and the final test only had one question type in common. The researchers postulated that this was likely due to the use of interleaving, which requires students to load different cognitive processes and resolve the interference between them, leading to better long-term retention and transfer.

Multiple-choice practice tests emerged as the most effective single format. The researchers discuss that this may be because multiple-choice questions are less cognitively demanding, and research suggests that less demanding retrieval practice activities promote stronger retention because they allow students to focus all of their cognitive energy on a simple task.

The benefits of practice testing were greater when the practice test and the final test formats were identical rather than dissimilar (assuming the practice test and final test utilized only one question type). This is due to a phenomenon known as Transfer-Appropriate Processing which suggests that memories are easier to retrieve when the retrieval process is similar to how they were encoded during an initial learning activity.

How many practice tests should students take, and how much time should pass between the practice test and the real test for maximum effect?

    Conducting several short practice sessions distributed over time enables long-term storage. This method utilizes distributed practice, a high-utility learning technique.

One full-length practice test was proven more effective than taking two or more full-length practice tests within a short timeframe.

For maximum effect on the final test, the full-length practice test should be taken between one and six days before the final test.

Is feedback helpful?

Based on the research, a practice test followed by feedback did not yield significantly higher testing effects than practice tests without feedback. This does not necessarily mean that receiving feedback does not aid students in retention, because there are several individual studies that show that practice testing plus feedback is more beneficial than practice testing alone. But, there is not enough research that examines the different types of feedback and how that feedback is given to determine the true effectiveness of feedback. Therefore, students can be encouraged to use practice testing as a learning technique whether they will receive feedback or not.

Which types of students benefit most from practice testing?

    The studies considered in this meta-analysis mostly used samples of postsecondary students, but a significant amount used samples of primary or secondary students.

Secondary students benefited the most from practice testing, followed by primary students, and then by postsecondary students.

Practice testing was highly effective as a learning technique for all three groups.

How can this information be applied in the classroom?

Based on their findings, the researchers discuss several ways that educators can incorporate more retrieval practice into their classrooms:

    Increase the number of low-stakes quizzes on material students need to retain.

Incorporate more formative assessment questions into lectures.

Increase wait time after asking the class a practice question. Instead of calling on the first student as soon as their hand is raised, wait long enough to allow all students to process the questions and come up with a response so that all gain the cognitive benefit of the retrieval practice.

Looking for an easy way to get your students practicing today? Try Study Island for FREE!

Interested in learning more about how Edmentum’s online programs can support your classroom practice efforts? Check out our own study validated by Marzano Research on how practice with Study Island drives student growth!

Last Updated: April 15, 2021 References

This article was co-authored by Jai Flicker. Jai Flicker is an Academic Tutor and the CEO and Founder of Lifeworks Learning Center, a San Francisco Bay Area-based business focused on providing tutoring, parental support, test preparation, college essay writing help, and psychoeducational evaluations to help students transform their attitude toward learning. Jai has over 20 years of experience in the education management industry. He holds a BA in Philosophy from the University of California, San Diego.

There are 24 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.

This article has been viewed 225,270 times.

Learning can be a pretty personal thing — different techniques tend to work for different people, and you may find that the strategies that have helped you understand one kind of topic may not be as effective for another. [1] X Expert Source

Jai Flicker
Academic Tutor Expert Interview. 20 May 2020. That’s completely normal, so don’t worry! There’s a lot of contradictory advice out there, but there are also plenty of tried-and-true approaches supported by the kinds of organizations that would know best, such as university learning centers. Those techniques are definitely the best places to start, so we’ve done the research for you and collected all the best advice here. With a little persistence, you’ll likely be able to improve your focus and absorb information more effectively.

You may have the best business strategy out there but the success of your company depends on one golden resource- people. Employees are your loyal foot soldiers ready to dive into battle with you.

But are you noticing them making a lot of mistakes or having no clue what to do in certain critical situations? Before you start questioning the competencies of your employees ask yourself- Have you taken the best effort to train your employees? Do you have a solid onboarding and training strategy for new employees?

How to learn at work in the most effective wayHow To Train Your Employees

What are the best and most effective ways to train your employees?
We have created a comprehensive list of the best techniques to train your employees.

1. Teach Why Before How

Too often it happens that companies cram a ton of information into the employee during training sessions. So much so that by the end of the session they end up asking ‘So why am I learning this?’.

  • Before starting any training session, clearly, state what your employees should be able to do by the end of the program.
  • By planting this idea before you begin training, they automatically think about how they can apply what they learned to what they do at the workplace.

Human beings learn new things when there is a need to learn. So remember to teach why before how.

2. Practice Is The Best Training

At the end of the day, the best way to learn the job is to do the job.

  • Have your employees practice what they learned after a session. Also by the end of the day, you get work done so you kill two birds with one stone.
  • Make sure that you’re employees are practicing what they learned after a session the same day itself so what they have learned is fresh in their memory.

3. Encourage employees to share their expertise.

Each of your employees has some special skill that they are proficient in. Ask them to share it.

Set aside an hour of the week for the employee to employee training sessions. There are many benefits to doing so

  • The person taking the sessions will learn even more while preparing and the other employees have a chance to learn skills of other functional areas of the department.
  • The sessions need not be all about strictly work, they could be about productivity hacks or personal finance tips. These can help employees in personal development
  • This gives them a chance to practice speaking in public and developing self-confidence.
  • These sessions are interactive so it’s a good opportunity to build a community.
  • If you are worried about not having enough time for these sessions take a look at the Learn at Lunch program that many companies are incorporating today

4. Expose employees to networking events.

Organize or send your employees to conferences and seminars. Attending these events give them a chance to meet and interact with people who do the same work.

They can help them understand what the trends in the market are and how their competitors are doing things differently. All of these events are used to help the individual grow into the position instead of having someone simply tell him what to do.

Also encourage them to attend webinars regularly and allow them to constantly learn to grow.
There are many courses available on Coursera and Edx that offer a wide range of topics to choose from.

5. Training Videos

Generally, senior employees of the organization or hired trainers are used to train employees. But who is going to address any confusion once the session is over?

This is where training videos have a huge advantage. Training with videos are arguably the best and most effective way to train employees because:

  • Employees can review videos anytime
  • They can view them anywhere and even on their smartphones and in the convenience of their home
  • Live sessions are not always perfect, there will be times when the speaker will drift off and lose the attention of the viewers. With video, you can make sure that everything you need to say is said in the best way possible- nothing more and nothing less.

Animated video is a fun way to achieve this. By combining visual and audio stimulation, the video provides two different avenues for new information to be processed into long-term memory. Whether you’re demonstrating how to use a complicated software system or conveying the details of an acquisition, using video is the best way to ensure that viewers retain the information.

How to learn at work in the most effective way

Free Book Preview: Unstoppable

Even if your job title doesn’t include “manager,” there’s a good chance you’ll have to handle some management duty sometime in your career. And, as an entrepreneur, you’re already a manager, because almost every one of your responsibilities has some management element to it.

In short, your employees are the ones making your vision a reality, and your job is to make sure they do it efficiently.

But being an effective manager is about more than just driving your employees to work harder — or more efficiently. Forcing employees to work a certain way can breed resentment, even disloyalty, while being too soft can lead to bad habits, laziness or boredom. There’s no “right” management style, as each employee and company is going to have an individual perspective.

But there are some universally “wrong” ways to manage. Avoid them by following these 10 “golden” rules of effective management:

1. Be consistent.

This is the first rule because it applies to most of the others. Before your management approach can be effective, it must be consistent. You must reward the same behaviors every time they appear, discourage the same behaviors when they appear and treat every member of your team with an equal, level-headed view.

2. Focus on clarity, accuracy and thoroughness in communication.

How you communicate to your team can dictate your eventual success. When relaying instructions, recapping meetings or just doling out company updates, strive for the clarity, accuracy and thoroughness of your communication. This goes for any other medium, whether that means in-person communication, email or a phone call. Clarity, accuracy and thoroughness are the best way to avoid miscommunication and keep your team on the same page.

3. Set the goal of working as a team.

If you want your team members to work together, have them work for something together. Setting goals just for the department or one individual breeds a limited mentality and forces team members to remain isolated. Instead, give staffers a unified focus and purpose, to inspire them together.

4. Publicly reward and recognize hard work.

When a member of your team does something exceptional, reward him/her — with a bonus, a small trophy or even just a vocal recognition. Do this in front of the group; it will make the intended recipient feel good and show the rest of the team that hard work is rewarded. The only caveat goes back to rule one: Be consistent in your rewards so you won’t be seen as playing favorites.

5. Be the example.

As the manager and leader, you should set an example in terms of your behavior. If you show up late, your team will be less punctual. If you lose your temper easily, others will be amiss in keeping their emotions in check. Strive to be your own ideal of the perfect worker, especially in front of the team.

6. Never go with ‘one-size-fits-all.’

Your team is comprised of individuals with unique preferences, strengths, weaknesses and ideas. Never use the exact same approach to motivate, encourage or mold all of them. Focus on individuals, and customize your approach to fit each one.

7. Remain as transparent as possible.

Transparency shows your integrity as a leader, and builds trust with the individual members of your team. If you lie about something, or withhold information, you could jeopardize your relationships and the respect you command as a leader.

8. Encourage all opinions and ideas.

The more people you have actively participating in discussions and attempting to make improvements to the organization, the better. Never chastise a team member for voicing an opinion respectfully — even if it goes against your original vision or isn’t well thought out. Cutting someone down for voicing an opinion builds resentment, and discourages people from sharing their own new thoughts.

9. Help people enjoy work.

You don’t need a pool table or dress code abolition to make work fun. You can make the workday more enjoyable with such new elements as surprise lunch outings, a dedicated break room or even just casual conversations with your workers. Help your people enjoy coming to work, and they’ll do their best work for you.

10. Listen and ask questions.

If someone doesn’t agree with your management style or doesn’t like the direction of the company, don’t silence that person. Listen. And ask questions of your entire team: What do you think of this? How do you feel about that? This open dialogue makes it easier to proactively identify problems and work together to create a mutually beneficial environment. It will also make your employees feel appreciated and acknowledged.

As you’ll notice, these rules leave plenty of wiggle room to apply your own personal “brand” of leadership and management. They stand as fundamental truths, considerations and principles that govern an effective management role rather than a strict instruction manual to success. Stay true to these principles in addition to your own, and you’ll unify your team in a rewarding and enriching environment.

You may have the best business strategy out there but the success of your company depends on one golden resource- people. Employees are your loyal foot soldiers ready to dive into battle with you.

But are you noticing them making a lot of mistakes or having no clue what to do in certain critical situations? Before you start questioning the competencies of your employees ask yourself- Have you taken the best effort to train your employees? Do you have a solid onboarding and training strategy for new employees?

How to learn at work in the most effective wayHow To Train Your Employees

What are the best and most effective ways to train your employees?
We have created a comprehensive list of the best techniques to train your employees.

1. Teach Why Before How

Too often it happens that companies cram a ton of information into the employee during training sessions. So much so that by the end of the session they end up asking ‘So why am I learning this?’.

  • Before starting any training session, clearly, state what your employees should be able to do by the end of the program.
  • By planting this idea before you begin training, they automatically think about how they can apply what they learned to what they do at the workplace.

Human beings learn new things when there is a need to learn. So remember to teach why before how.

2. Practice Is The Best Training

At the end of the day, the best way to learn the job is to do the job.

  • Have your employees practice what they learned after a session. Also by the end of the day, you get work done so you kill two birds with one stone.
  • Make sure that you’re employees are practicing what they learned after a session the same day itself so what they have learned is fresh in their memory.

3. Encourage employees to share their expertise.

Each of your employees has some special skill that they are proficient in. Ask them to share it.

Set aside an hour of the week for the employee to employee training sessions. There are many benefits to doing so

  • The person taking the sessions will learn even more while preparing and the other employees have a chance to learn skills of other functional areas of the department.
  • The sessions need not be all about strictly work, they could be about productivity hacks or personal finance tips. These can help employees in personal development
  • This gives them a chance to practice speaking in public and developing self-confidence.
  • These sessions are interactive so it’s a good opportunity to build a community.
  • If you are worried about not having enough time for these sessions take a look at the Learn at Lunch program that many companies are incorporating today

4. Expose employees to networking events.

Organize or send your employees to conferences and seminars. Attending these events give them a chance to meet and interact with people who do the same work.

They can help them understand what the trends in the market are and how their competitors are doing things differently. All of these events are used to help the individual grow into the position instead of having someone simply tell him what to do.

Also encourage them to attend webinars regularly and allow them to constantly learn to grow.
There are many courses available on Coursera and Edx that offer a wide range of topics to choose from.

5. Training Videos

Generally, senior employees of the organization or hired trainers are used to train employees. But who is going to address any confusion once the session is over?

This is where training videos have a huge advantage. Training with videos are arguably the best and most effective way to train employees because:

  • Employees can review videos anytime
  • They can view them anywhere and even on their smartphones and in the convenience of their home
  • Live sessions are not always perfect, there will be times when the speaker will drift off and lose the attention of the viewers. With video, you can make sure that everything you need to say is said in the best way possible- nothing more and nothing less.

Animated video is a fun way to achieve this. By combining visual and audio stimulation, the video provides two different avenues for new information to be processed into long-term memory. Whether you’re demonstrating how to use a complicated software system or conveying the details of an acquisition, using video is the best way to ensure that viewers retain the information.

How to learn at work in the most effective way

Free Book Preview: Unstoppable

Even if your job title doesn’t include “manager,” there’s a good chance you’ll have to handle some management duty sometime in your career. And, as an entrepreneur, you’re already a manager, because almost every one of your responsibilities has some management element to it.

In short, your employees are the ones making your vision a reality, and your job is to make sure they do it efficiently.

But being an effective manager is about more than just driving your employees to work harder — or more efficiently. Forcing employees to work a certain way can breed resentment, even disloyalty, while being too soft can lead to bad habits, laziness or boredom. There’s no “right” management style, as each employee and company is going to have an individual perspective.

But there are some universally “wrong” ways to manage. Avoid them by following these 10 “golden” rules of effective management:

1. Be consistent.

This is the first rule because it applies to most of the others. Before your management approach can be effective, it must be consistent. You must reward the same behaviors every time they appear, discourage the same behaviors when they appear and treat every member of your team with an equal, level-headed view.

2. Focus on clarity, accuracy and thoroughness in communication.

How you communicate to your team can dictate your eventual success. When relaying instructions, recapping meetings or just doling out company updates, strive for the clarity, accuracy and thoroughness of your communication. This goes for any other medium, whether that means in-person communication, email or a phone call. Clarity, accuracy and thoroughness are the best way to avoid miscommunication and keep your team on the same page.

3. Set the goal of working as a team.

If you want your team members to work together, have them work for something together. Setting goals just for the department or one individual breeds a limited mentality and forces team members to remain isolated. Instead, give staffers a unified focus and purpose, to inspire them together.

4. Publicly reward and recognize hard work.

When a member of your team does something exceptional, reward him/her — with a bonus, a small trophy or even just a vocal recognition. Do this in front of the group; it will make the intended recipient feel good and show the rest of the team that hard work is rewarded. The only caveat goes back to rule one: Be consistent in your rewards so you won’t be seen as playing favorites.

5. Be the example.

As the manager and leader, you should set an example in terms of your behavior. If you show up late, your team will be less punctual. If you lose your temper easily, others will be amiss in keeping their emotions in check. Strive to be your own ideal of the perfect worker, especially in front of the team.

6. Never go with ‘one-size-fits-all.’

Your team is comprised of individuals with unique preferences, strengths, weaknesses and ideas. Never use the exact same approach to motivate, encourage or mold all of them. Focus on individuals, and customize your approach to fit each one.

7. Remain as transparent as possible.

Transparency shows your integrity as a leader, and builds trust with the individual members of your team. If you lie about something, or withhold information, you could jeopardize your relationships and the respect you command as a leader.

8. Encourage all opinions and ideas.

The more people you have actively participating in discussions and attempting to make improvements to the organization, the better. Never chastise a team member for voicing an opinion respectfully — even if it goes against your original vision or isn’t well thought out. Cutting someone down for voicing an opinion builds resentment, and discourages people from sharing their own new thoughts.

9. Help people enjoy work.

You don’t need a pool table or dress code abolition to make work fun. You can make the workday more enjoyable with such new elements as surprise lunch outings, a dedicated break room or even just casual conversations with your workers. Help your people enjoy coming to work, and they’ll do their best work for you.

10. Listen and ask questions.

If someone doesn’t agree with your management style or doesn’t like the direction of the company, don’t silence that person. Listen. And ask questions of your entire team: What do you think of this? How do you feel about that? This open dialogue makes it easier to proactively identify problems and work together to create a mutually beneficial environment. It will also make your employees feel appreciated and acknowledged.

As you’ll notice, these rules leave plenty of wiggle room to apply your own personal “brand” of leadership and management. They stand as fundamental truths, considerations and principles that govern an effective management role rather than a strict instruction manual to success. Stay true to these principles in addition to your own, and you’ll unify your team in a rewarding and enriching environment.

When students become active learners, they learn that there might be more than one correct answer to a question and whether an answer is “correct” might be more subjective than objective. Luckily there are innumerable ways for teachers to help students develop independent thinking skills. Below is an infographic provided for us by Venngage featuring 10 of them.

Independent thinking skills are at the forefront of learning how to be not only a great thinker but a great leader. Such skills teach our learners how to make sense of the world based on personal experience and observation, and to make critical well-informed decisions in the same way. As such, they gain confidence and the ability to learn from mistakes as they build successful and productive lives.

How to learn at work in the most effective way

1. Create an Open Environment

Students are used to sitting in class and listening to teachers, but those who want to encourage independent thinking should make clear on the first day of class that their class will be different. Let learners know there will be fewer passive lectures and more opportunities for them to talk and write about what they learn. For example, putting up a sign in class reminding students every day that they should be active learners reinforces that you are paving the way for independent thinking.

2. Reward Initiative

Giving students the same assignments and tests is not the best way to determine every student’s grade. That’s why teachers should make it clear from the beginning that they want their students to be active learners rather than passive learners. For example, students who volunteer to write a report for extra credit should be encouraged to do so.

3. Scrutinize Independent Work

Teachers must be willing to be as specific as possible when reviewing the work—a grade and a few comments are not enough. In this case, use the 3X3 Rule—tell students at least 3 things that they did right and give them 3 tips for improvement.

4. Assign Research Projects

If you have 25 students in a class, why should they all read the same chapter in a Social Studies book or answer the same Math questions again and again? Having every student do one or more research project in lieu of the regular homework during the school year will help most, if not all, of the students develop a different skill. You might, for example, ask one student to research how many other nations have constitutions similar to the American Constitution.

5. Let the Students “Teach”

Allowing students who do a research project to share the information they learned with the class has two advantages. First, the student-teachers have the opportunity to improve their oral communication skills. Second, the other students in the class might learn more when they are being taught by a classmate. “When students listen to each other, they often benefit from hearing concepts being explained from different points and in ways that might be closer to the students’ way of thinking,” says the NDT report “Developing Communication Skills.”

6. Let the Students Pretend

Having students pretend to live in Colonial America before or during the Revolutionary War can help them understand concepts of freedom and democracy much better than listening to lectures about the subject. A play might help the students think more independently about these concepts. Asking students to make or write a speech as if they were revolutionaries might also help.

7. Encourage Dissenting Views

Students should be allowed to make up their own minds about important topics as much as possible. In this sense, classroom discussions should be encouraged to allow students to debate important topics. Teachers might facilitate the debates by asking some students to pretend to be the “losers” in history. For example, a debate between pro-American and pro-British forces might get students to think more deeply about concepts that pertain to the present day such as whether people in present-day dictatorships should be encouraged to revolt.

8. Encourage Brainstorming

Historically, students who take notes tend to write down the highlights of teachers’ lectures. Instead of this, teachers should encourage students to write down questions and ideas that they have. Some students will appreciate the opportunity to share their ideas orally, but journals can also give shy students a chance to write down their thoughts and submit the highlights of what they wrote to their teacher.

9. Ask Open-Ended Questions

You might not always get adult answers, but students often appreciate being asked difficult questions. Here are some examples:

  • What is freedom?
  • What is democracy?
  • What should be your rights as a citizen?

Putting students in small groups to discuss these questions is a good idea. Asking each group to present the highlights of its discussion to the rest of the class is also a good idea. Returning to the same question months later might give students an opportunity to show that their independent thinking skills on many questions have improved.

10. Focus on the Positive

Risk-taking should be rewarded, so praise students for taking risks and then focus on getting them to think about the validity of their ideas. The next step is getting them to improve their communication skills. Correct spelling and grammar is part of better communication skills, but far from the only part.

As you know, Washington and Madison signed the Constitution while Adams and Jefferson did not. There have been books written about the second question. Ask your students to read them!