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Forget about training— let’s motivate learning!

motivate learningCheck out our feature article (co-written with Ruth Donde from The NeuroLeadership Group) in this months Training and Development Magazine.. It is entitled “Forget about training -let’s motivate learning “

It is another one of our “What science knows and what business does.” series and this time we discus what science knows about  the impact of extrinsic and intrinsic rewards on our brains.  Here is a little extract to whet your appetite.

We can access most of what we now need online by condensing the wisdom of the world’s best brains from their latest business books. So how come we aren’t all gurus in negotiation, leading others, conducting appraisals, strategic thinking etc? And come to that, why do we often fail to put into practice all the things we learn during training?

Well in the article we believe that one of the reasons is an outdated paradigm on workplace motivation and a failure by training designers to tap into the real  motivators that support learning transfer.

The jury has been out for a long time on the impact of performance pay and bonuses on workplace priorities and productivity, but neuroscience is suggesting there is another negative impact of these extrinsic conditional rewards, in that they often destroy creativity and broad problem solving, and  have a negative impact on motivation and learning transfer.

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The secret to high motivation and learning transfer performance isn’t through external rewards and punishments, but by tapping into that unseen intrinsic driver—the drive to do things for their own sake and to get the approval of others in our tribe. It is about the drive to do things because they have meaning, and matter to us.

Training is not happening in a vacuum and trainees are generally busy juggling competing priorities. If we really want to get out of this economic mess, and if we really want higher performance and better learning agility on those definitional tasks of the 21st century, the solution is not to do more of the wrong things such as enticing people with a sweeter carrot, or threaten them with a sharper stick. We need a smarter motivational approach hardwired into our learning interventions and a greater attention to learning transfer.

Read the article in full right here

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