Unlearning is the process of discarding something from your memory. When you unlearn something you forget it, put it aside, and you lose knowledge of it.
But - why exactly would you want to unlearn something? In many cases when you unlearn something you can get rid of a bad habit, preconceptions or something that is false. Alvin Toffler, futurist and philosopher said:
The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.
I've got lots of examples of unlearning. I was born at a time when society, education, workplaces were very rigid, structured and formal. In my early working years, management structures were very hierarchical and demarcation not collaboration was common. As I gained experience in those environments, I developed both learning and management skills to match. In the last 5 to 10 years though, workplaces have changed so much. I've had to unlearn habits of formal learning and communication to adapt a more agile learning and collaborative working approach.
The role of unlearning is vital in today’s workplace. Why? Employees need to unlearn in order to move forward alongside their company so they can move ahead, work more effectively and further the company’s mission. In this blog post, we’re going to discuss seven tips for unlearning in the workplace.
Long-term employees often have a hard time unlearning especially if they’ve been doing something the same way for a long time. It’s not impossible to promote unlearning as long as there is an openness towards it. Instead of demanding compliance, a manager should foster a sense of willingness to unlearn and learn something new. Ease into the idea during a transitional period. Gradually assist employees by letting them unlearn and relearn slowly and over a specified time period.
People are more co-operative in the unlearning process if they are willing participants. .
In order to grasp new ideas and let them take hold, you need to pursue the things that are unfamiliar and get to know them. Consider the new release of Windows 10. How many people jumped on this right away? How many decided to wait until it felt comfortable? Unfortunately, they may never feel comfortable switching. When unlearning, you have to let go of the familiar so you open your mind to the unfamiliar. This book onleadership - yes to the mess, talks about handling complexity and the importance of being agile. Read our blog discussing messy learning here.
One of the easiest ways to unlearn something is to move away from the location where you learned it. New surroundings can help you notice new things. This is a bit of psychological manipulation. You’re basically tricking your brain into unlearning by engaging in a new surrounding so you can unlearn one idea and learn another. It is another subtle way of helping you break a habit.
This isn’t exactly an “opposites attract” scenario, but it’s similar. When employees are surrounded by like-mind people, their ability to unlearn is hampered. When teamed with a business professional from a different background, employees are better able to look at things from a fresh viewpoint. Diversity in teams and organisations in general is good for everyone.
By exposing themselves to something new, employees begin the unlearning process and open themselves up to learning something new.
Consider a child’s capacity for learning. Help your employees see the unlearning from a child’s view. A child is usually open to discover new approaches and new techniques without much hesitation at all. They don't have the same 'adult baggage' of fear or looking stupid. Ask yourself:
What would you do today if you weren't afraid?
A child learns by engaging the five senses and investigating new situations through trial and error. The same methodology translates to the process of unlearning and then learning something new.
Employees respond better to the unlearning process if they not only buy into it, but if they have specific goals. Socially and emotionally, people work better this way - as long as it is no more than two to three key goals. The most effective unlearning process provides clear and challenging goals without infringing on the learner’s sense of ownership of the goals. Goals have the ability to provide motivation and self-reliance.
First, be sure the goals set during the unlearning process are actually attainable. Make the steps clear so employees can check them off their list.
Everyone turns their PC off at least once per day when leaving their
office for the first week of the campaign.
By setting small goals like this, your transition will be easier. You might have some 'energy champions' spend a few minutes each day, giving out gentle reminders for that 1st week. This encourages the unlearning and learning process while making it easier for employees to do.
Unlearning may be as difficult for the company as it is for individual employee. To ensure a smooth transition, encourage colleagues to help each other out. Consider creating a support team to handle the unlearning process. This team can handle any glitches that arise.
Today’s workforce needs to embrace continuous learning in order to move forward. Employees must continue to unlearn, learn and relearn in order to stay relevant in today’s modern, digital workforce. Change is continual, and in order to stay current and not dive into the world of the obsolete, unlearning is a vital component to 21st century employees. The most overlooked aspect of learning is the process of unlearning. Everyone has acquired knowledge that built their mountain of ideas, some still viable and others outdated.
More like this
Why Learning To Unlearn Is So Important
Explore the World’s
Take Your Ideas
Just press play and we take care of the words.
No Internet access? No problem. Within the mobile app, all your ideas are available, even when offline.
2 Million Stashers
Don’t look further if you love learning new things. A refreshing concept that provides quick ideas for busy thought leaders.
Great interesting short snippets of informative articles. Highly recommended to anyone who loves information and lacks patience.
Best app ever! You heard it right. This app has helped me get back on my quest to get things done while equipping myself with knowledge everyday.
This app is LOADED with RELEVANT, HELPFUL, AND EDUCATIONAL material. It is creatively intellectual, yet minimal enough to not overstimulate and create a learning block. I am exceptionally impressed with this app!
Great for quick bits of information and interesting ideas around whatever topics you are interested in. Visually, it looks great as well.
I have only been using it for a few days now, but I have found answers to questions I had never consciously formulated, or to problems I face everyday at work or at home. I wish I had found this earlier, highly recommended!
Brilliant. It feels fresh and encouraging. So many interesting pieces of information that are just enough to absorb and apply. So happy I found this.
Even five minutes a day will improve your thinking. I've come across new ideas and learnt to improve existing ways to become more motivated, confident and happier.
Read & Learn
Access to 200,000+ ideas
Access to the mobile app
Unlimited idea saving & library
Unlimited listening to ideas
Downloading & offline access
Supercharge your mind with one idea per day
Enter your email and spend 1 minute every day to learn something new.
I agree to receive email updates