Here’s a question for you: What ultimately will make the difference between whether an employee is engaged, or disengaged, at work?

Much has been written about learning styles – the different ways that people like to take in information and respond to what’s going on in the world around them. I’ve been reflecting not so much on how I like to take in information, but about the different levels at which learning is taking place. I’ve called this “The Process of Consequential Development”.

Consequential Development

Logical Learning results from activities involving the use of our minds to solve problems, make decisions and implement plans. Many day-to-day activities would apply here, leading to a sense of Achievement. It is largely activity driven and goal oriented, and in many cases is an adequate level of learning to attain.

Emotional Learning occurs when our feelings play a major part in what’s happening. Dissonance between feelings of different people involved in a situation can lead to frustration and resentment, but more positively different feelings can lead to a strong sense of Contentment that goes beyond a sense of Achievement. It is deeper seated and perhaps longer lasting, representing as a state of mind that enables one to move forward and continue to grow.

Spiritual Learning goes beyond Maslow’s concept of ‘self actualisation’. It is not simply about a desire to excel. It is based on my belief that we all have an innate tendency to look for ‘something more’ than the simple here-and-now. It is a far deeper form of learning than Achievement and Contentment. It is a level of learning unlikely to result from our every-day work (unless that is in some way ‘spiritual’). Where I describe Contentment as a state of mind, perhaps Fulfilment is a state of being.

All three levels of learning are important; it seems logical (!) to me that as one moves through the levels of learning, then the degree of Achievement, Contentment and Fulfillment attained will have a direct impact on the degree to which someone says they are ‘engaged’ and demonstrates it by their behaviour.

What can you do in your organisation to begin evaluating learning at a deeper level? What will be the impact of the engagement of your team?

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