Leveraging the Neural Networks of Learning

How to learn in the ‘New Normal’


Digital became truly intelligent when information from multiple sources got accumulated into smart AI-based algorithms that could learn, evolve and therefore, provide the most comprehensive experience to the users. We called these the Neural Networks and they enabled ‘deep learning’ in machines.

Much like machines, ‘Self-Learning’ has become the success imperative for professionals and organizations alike, in the current times. The digital society must also be a learning society to survive and thrive.

Organizations and individuals must constantly be hooked on to the ‘Neural Networks of Learning’ to stay updated by deepening their learning agility.

So, what is the Neural Network of Learning?

In simple terms ‘Neural Network of Learning’ is an ecosystem of diverse approaches that drive cognitive understanding in people, thereby enabling the highest possible learnings. Neural Network of Learning enables the creation of new neural pathways in the brain for enhanced retention, learning, unlearning and relearning.

The world today has transformed from the knowledge worker era to the age of learning worker. Thanks to technology, knowledge is free and abundantly available and knowledge accumulation is not of any consequence. It is the human learning agility that of great value in today’s rapidly evolving digital world. Humans will have to prepare themselves to navigate unknown challenges, in unprecedented situations using undiscovered skills. And this will need a new worker, the ‘Learning Worker’.

While learning has become so central to organizational success, ROI on learning initiatives continues to be the lowest among all business initiatives. And this is simply because all the sources of learning are not leveraged in an aligned manner. Neural Networks of Learning is not optimized.

There are 7 critical components of Neural Networks of Learning (NNL):

  1. Organizational stories – people learn and retain stories. Stories give a vivid view of the learning in action and when the story is from within the organization, it becomes the most potent tool of learning. Unfortunately, the majority of the organizations across the globe hardly know how to plug the right organizational stories in the right way in the Neural Network of Learning. And often, the most potent stories are lost when key actors of the story leave organizations. Most of the times, the best stories do not even go out of the circle of people who lived the story themselves and perhaps do not even understand the educational value of their story. Creating a story to drive the learning engine is a scientific process and takes a storytellers art to unleash the potential of an anecdote as a tool of learning.
  2. Professional networks: social media has taken professional networking to unthinkable levels. Individuals today can connect to likeminded people from their fraternity across the globe with extreme ease. A well-networked person is far more like to be aware of the best and the latest in his/her field. Again, organizations have not really leveraged the power of fraternity networks to augment their overall learning strategy.
  3. Volunteering and gigs: People learn rapidly and a lot when they try new things. Whether it is as volunteers for causes they feel passionate about or any kind of ‘Gig’ work or project where they apply a skill that they may have newly picked. Organizations, wanting a culture of learning must create an environment where both Volunteering as well a Gig work is promoted for all employees.
  4. Reading: “The reading of all good books is like a conversation with the finest (people) of the past centuries.” said Descartes. Unfortunately, modern-day digital devices have taken us away from books. An organization that incentivizes book reading and ultimately inculcates the habit of reading in its people will have significantly better nourished learners.
  5. Instructor-led facilitation: will never become irrelevant. In fact, in the current times when the world is overloaded by virtual learning, fake news and rumour-mongering, its easy for a learner to get lost in the heaps of content. Instructor lead presentation is like a guided tour of the monument. The subtle and the most relevant points of a learning subject can be only deciphered by a capable facilitator.
  6. Focus and Mindfulness: Newton’s apple moment and Archimedes Eureka moment were all products of mindful contemplation. In our fast-paced lives, we a rarely contemplate mindfully specifically while trying to learn learning new things. Learning is not fast food, it is to be cherished bite by bite. Organizations need to help individuals develop this very rare skill. I personally learned consciousness-based learning many years ago and found it extremely powerful for retention and behaviour change.
  7. Digital learning platform: the most obvious and most widely used these days. The best digital learning platforms are those that enable continuous learning in the most efficient and engaging manner possible, allowing employees to direct their own paths to edification and expertise in a single platform accessible by all. If you do not get the right learning solution that is capable of seamlessly integrate all the components of IOL. The right learning application is akin to the ‘N’ in the ‘Neural Network of Learning’.

Oracle Learning Cloud is the only system of its kind that allows an organization to seamlessly integrate all components of an effective learning ecosystem and create the most comprehensive and agile Neural Network of Learning.

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