Understanding the Beginner’s Mind - How to deal with different learning styles and anxieties - Deepstash
Understanding the Beginner’s Mind  - How to deal with different learning styles and anxieties

Understanding the Beginner’s Mind - How to deal with different learning styles and anxieties

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Understanding the Beginner’s Mind - How to deal with different learning styles and anxieties

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Learning Styles: Chaotic Learners

Chaotic learners are those that do not know what they don’t know yet, and also do not have a meta-model for their learning best practices. That is, they might know how they learn best, but in any case, they don’t know how to explain that to others.

  • Needs the team to deploy a diverse set of teaching strategies upfront to see “what sticks”.
  • Needs frequent and explicit push to reflect on what they’ve learned and how.
  • Might experience anxiety at proposals to share their learnings with their team.

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Learning Styles: Unbalanced Learners

These are people that think they know what they don’t know yet and have had success with a particular learning strategy in the past. They are eager to start working or studying in a way that was successful in the past but often dismiss/fail to recognize alternative strategies.

  • Needs the team to figure out how to shape starter projects in a particular way that works for the individual at the beginning.
  • If the learning strategy is not compatible with the beginner’s expectations, that may cause anxiety and distress.
  • Benefits from “fireside chats” where other team members explain how they learn.

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Learning Styles: Strategic Learners

They are comfortable using a toolbox of various learning strategies and already have experience reflecting on their learnings.

  • Needs the team to listen to the learner and perhaps develop new projects or new project styles.
  • Often strategic learners are smarter about their learning process than the collective intuition of their team and that needs to be recognized/managed.
  • Feels empowered by invitations to share their learnings with their team.
  • Benefits from and enjoys interactions with a “sparring partner” to exercise strategies, reflect on learnings etc.

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Anxieties: Self-Affirmation Anxiety

This might occur with people who are unsure about who they are in relationship to their team and their organization.

Anxieties about personal validation, dignity, and respect.

  • Needs the team to spell out explicitly that diversity is celebrated.
  • Benefits from “fireside chats” where other team members share their experience of learning, and how their unique traits helped them
  • Benefits from being seen and respected outside of work assignments

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Anxieties: Performance Anxiety

This might occur with people who are unsure about their self-worth and relate their self-worth excessively to their performance at work.

Anxieties about performance validation, “how much is good enough”, impostor syndrome.

  • Needs and enjoys frequent performance feedback with both praise for achievements and constructive suggestions for areas of improvement.
  • Benefits from clarity about the reward structure.
  • Benefits from clear project outlines and strategy.
  • At risk of over-work and poor work-life balance

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Anxieties: Social Safety Anxiety

This might occur with people who are hyper-aware of power dynamics and are afraid (or legitimately at risk) of being penalized by the group; either from past trauma, upbringing circumstances or ongoing experience in other social spheres.

  • Needs the team to spell out work responsibilities explicitly and upfront.
  • Needs the team to spell out governance rules explicitly: who is responsible for what, in particular:
  • who is responsible for offering help or support in case something unexpected happens.
  • what process to use to disclaim responsibility about an area of work.

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