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Bola Owoade

Jewish Care

Senior Learning and Development Advisor

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On Learning Agility


I'm trying to read at least five l&d related articles a week and review my lessons from the article and today I read a really interesting one from CLO magazine titled, Learning agility and its role in leadership. You can read the full article here.

Usually when I read an article like this, my first question is, what is learning agility? The descriptions are worth reading and here are two:

  1. ...focuses on the ability to perform in the future...
  2. ...being in an unfamiliar situation, not knowing what to do and figuring it out.

David Hoff, the author wrote the article purely from a leadership development perspective. Learning agility involves two elements which are speed and flexibility and other behaviours necessary for demonstrating learning agility are:

  • Experimenting.
  • Performance risk taking.
  • Interpersonal risk taking.
  • Collaborating.
  • Information gathering.
  • Feedback seeking.
  • Reflecting.

Warner Burke, professor of psychology at Columbia University who has studied learning agility for six years has even created an inventory tool that can be used to determine a person's level of learning agility called Burke's Learning Agility Inventory based on 38 questions. Hoff believes learning agility can be a "game changer" for leaders and organisations and should form part of managers leadership development. Also it should become an ingrained culture in organisations. In terms of application Hoff suggesst the following:

  1. During  the onboarding stage new leaders should complete the inventory to identify their strengths and weaknesses in the area.
  2. The inventory should be one of the tools used in leadership development training.
  3. It should also be part of an organisation's succession planning strategy to identify potential.

This article is about learning agility, a skill I believe is absolutely necessary for l&d professionals since we have to constantly deploy learning solutions in situations which we will not necessarily understand or have answers to.

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Bola Owoade

Senior Learning and Development Advisor

Read more from Bola Owoade

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