Fresh Thinking – seeking out opportunities to learn

Did you know that understanding how we learn is more important than our innate intelligence? In fact it’s estimated to be 15% more important!

Learning doesn’t always have to come from textbooks, webinars or formal lectures. There are opportunities to learn everywhere and having an insight into how you learn can boost your performance.

Plan to learn

Having a plan with objectives and timeframes for your learning enables you to outperform those who have not set themselves clear and achievable goals. It can also improve your mindset and motivation; being able to visualise your learning achievements can relieve you of panic or feelings of self-doubt.

Metacognition – or thinking about what you have learned – can also help in retaining and understanding knowledge. This involves increasing your awareness of your own level of knowledge on a subject and reflecting on your learning strategies. For example, would you be able to effectively explain this concept to a peer or colleague?

Reflective learning

Taking a step back after learning can give it time to become embedded. This requires a calm environment and it’s almost impossible for people to learn when they are stressed or distracted. A good night’s sleep can reduce practise time by 50% as it provides our brains with time to organise new information. Team meetings provide a good opportunity to introduce reflective learning based on complex cases or difficult scenarios after the event.

Know your learning style

According to Kolb, we all have different learning styles depending on our preferences for watching-doing and thinking-feeling.


Incidental learning

These are unplanned learning opportunities that might arise for instance when a locum uses a new technique you have never seen before and you adopt it yourself. There is a strong social component to incidental learning. Be curious and open to what’s going on in the practice to find these types of opportunities.

Want to learn more about learning and boosting your performance?

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