Making People Learn, Is That Possible?

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people learn

Making People Learn, Is That Possible?

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Is it possible to make people learn? Can learning be forced or is it more about people being self-motivated and self-directed?

Have you ever considered what the straight A student learned? What about attaining a 3.98 or 4.0 at the University? Have those students really learned?

The question sometimes comes down to, “Learned what?”

In many classroom curricula the savvy students figure out the way to get the perfect score. They are smart about navigating the educational environment.

Yet, have they really learned the material or just the material as it pertains to testing?

Experiential Learning

Many people bring up the concept of experiential learning.

Often, they connect this to hands-on learning. Sure, it may encompass hands on, yet experiential is really about reflection and experiencing the learning opportunity.

Experiential learning can occur with a case study, a screwdriver, or by clicking a mouse to apply different courses of action to a data set. It is nearly wide open. The key is that the learner is engaged and is reflective of the presenting opportunity.

The self-directed desire to learn may be much more reflective than the act of studying to get a good test score.

Making People Learn

Making people learn may be possible but what will the future outcomes hold? If the learning is not enticed with a desire to do more, be more, or build upon more, is there a point?

Is there a difference between the person who reads the book because there will be a test or the person who reads the book with an inquiring mind?

Will reading the book result in a grade or new knowledge? It could be both, but which would you place more value in, learning based on desire or because a grade will be given?

If you look around, kick up some dust, and stir the pot a little, you’ll likely find that the most successful people are lifelong learners.

Not because there will be an academic test when it is over, but because in life they want to be prepared for when they are tested.


Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

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