What do Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, rapper P. Diddy and chef Julia Child have in common? Turns out all three attended Montessori schools, which stray from traditional education systems by emphasizing independence, freedom within limits and respect for a student’s natural curiosity.
While plenty of influential people have excelled in standard learning environments, the success of these individuals is a reminder that there’s more than one way to approach education. Here are a few examples of alternative learning styles that managers can incorporate into their teaching methods.
Minimally Invasive Education
Championed by Sugata Mitra, Minimally Invasive Education refers to a form of learning in which children operate in unsupervised environments. In 1999, Mitra was chief scientist at global talent development company NIIT. His team carved a hole in the wall that separated their building from the slum in Kalkaji, New Delhi, and set up a computer in the space. Using what’s now known as the "Hole in the Wall" methodology, the children began learning to use the computer on their own.
Employees can benefit from the same self-teaching tactics. Mitra's experiment showed that, given free and public access to computers and the Internet, anyone can become computer literate on their own and teach themselves basics. On a broader scale, Minimally Invasive Education argues that learning is a process you do, not a process that’s done to you — a philosophy that can certainly be integrated into the workplace.
Rooted in psychology, spaced repetition incorporates increasing intervals of time between subsequent reviews of previously learned material. For example, if students using math flashcards get the right answer, they’ll use those cards less frequently than the ones they answered incorrectly. With computer-assisted learning, software programs can tailor the spaced repetition to learner performance.
Formative Assessment Learning
Teachers who are proponents of Formative Assessment Learning use ongoing evaluation to inform targeted instruction. According to a study from Florida State University, researchers found that "when early elementary math teachers ask students to explain their problem-solving strategies and then tailor instruction to address specific gaps in their understanding, students learn significantly more than those taught using a more traditional approach."
Applying this methodology to the workplace, employees are encouraged to monitor and regulate their own learning while reporting to managers issues they may have in learning processes.
[Image via CanStock]