by Melanie Greene

Making learning easy and enjoyable

Did you hate learning at school?

Do you think ‘I’m just not good at it’?

Many of us had bad experiences at school, and we can end up thinking either that learning is a difficult process or that we are not very clever and will always find it difficult to learn new things. However, learning in the workplace (and in life) is a whole different ball game. You might want to think about all the things you have learned since leaving school:

  • Driving
  • New computer programmes
  • Presentation and communication skills
  • Managing your finances
  • How to use your new digital camera.

The list goes on. The ideas and techniques in this topic are going to help you to maximise your learning and to ensure that it is fun and as easy as possible.

Some people find that when they are learning new things they tend to give up half way. If this sometimes happens to you, it may be because you are going about learning in the wrong way. Once you understand that you need to choose different learning processes according to what you are learning, this will assist you in succeeding as a learner (see MUD: identifying different ways of learning).

As a result of past experiences at school and/or college we can be under the impression that all learning has to be hard, tortuous and boring. But it does not have to be this way. Whether you enjoy the learning process or not depends on how you go about it.

Think about your own experiences of learning...


Think of something which you found easy to learn and/or enjoyed learning:

  • How did you go about learning it?
  • How were you taught?

Think of something which you found difficult to learn and/or disliked learning:

  • How did you go about learning it?
  • How were you taught?

What was the difference between the two experiences? Was it about

  • What you were learning
  • How you learnt or were taught it
  • Whether you had a say in what you were learning and how you did it
  • Your motivation
  • The environment you were in
  • The ability of the other learners or of the trainer?

One of the things that makes learning easier is if you are engaged with the process. The more you are actively involved in the learning process, the easier it will be to learn and to retain the learning. For example, we usually become more engaged while actually doing something rather than watching someone do it or listening to someone talk about how it’s done.

Think about things that you have learned in the past and how they relate to this idea of involvement. The learning might have happened in or outside work, in formal or day-to-day situations. How actively do you like to be involved in the learning process? This will be partly related to your learning styles (see Identify your learning style preferences).

Making the learning experience more active

You can make your learning easier, even if the way in which it is being delivered is not involving you enough:

  • If you are attending a talk, lecture or demonstration, ask questions
  • If you are reading or during a training courses, take notes
  • Use a learning buddy to help you to explore how you can apply your learning and to share your experiences
  • Share your learning with your manager, asking them to coach you after a training course to help you to put your learning into practice
  • Offer to make a presentation or write a paper for your colleagues to share what you have learned.