Why A Better Way 2 Learn Really Works!

If you are reading this opening line, it is safe to assume that you are in the decision-making process and evaluating A Better Way 2 Learn as a possible solution to a need you and your company may have. Our goal for every individual arriving on this site is to provide a clear understanding of why our methodology is unique and why it has made such a difference for our clients for nearly a quarter of a century. As you read through the 7 steps below, know that this process is built into every lesson plan and learning experience in the program. As you read, think about how you can apply it to yourself, your company, and your family. The learning experience begins now.

A Better Way 2 Learn – A Unique Methodology

    1. IDENTIFY NEEDS – This is the often overlooked foundation to a successful educational experience. As students at any level, we are much more apt to give a sincere effort to learning when we understand that as individuals, or a group, or a company, there is a specific need we have in order to become better. This need is identified by first asking a question that will engage us as opposed to confusing or frustrating us. A question such as, “What is the simplest step I can take to improve my effectiveness as a communicator?” may inspire you to begin to gather information on writing, speaking, or leadership courses. A question from a business owner such as, “What is the simplest step the company can take to improve profitability?” could move that owner to find more information on how to improve efficiencies, develop improved teamwork, or improved awareness of managing the financials of a company. By first identifying a need, all of the actions that follow will have more significance.
    2. GATHER INFO – This step in the process can sometimes be like the proverbial, “finding a needle in haystack.” In today’s digital world, there are infinite amounts of information that can overwhelm and frustrate more than help find the solutions we are looking for. Now more than ever the credibility of the source providing the information must be questioned and considered because making the wrong choice here will lead to roadblocks and missed opportunities in achieving the improvements desired. To start an educational journey, another proverb should be applied, “Start with a beginner’s mind.” If we could discard predetermined ideas of reading as many books as possible on a subject or attending class after class only to pile more information on top of that which we already do not understand and replace that approach with gathering small amounts of information and gaining understanding before moving on, then our efforts will result in a foundation that is not only results oriented but sustainable as well. One last philosophical note on the subject of gathering information is to develop the mindset of “an inch wide and a mile deep.”UNFORTUNATELY most learning processes end here as opposed to just beginning here. Identifying a need and gathering information just begin to open up a world of possibilities, and, to capitalize on these, an individual or company must be willing to go deeper in order to go farther. We can too often fall into the trap of information on the subject being enough. This is illustrated often in the reams of handouts, books, and course materials stacked in an owner’s office or individual’s bookshelf, and yet the question is still there of how to improve on the need identified. We all may have heard something like the following: “If I can just get this new book in front of my managers (or husband or partner or children . . .), then we will be able to improve and get it right.” It is a habitual cycle often fueled by wanting a quick fix as opposed to a sustainable solution. This cycle isn’t a total waste, yet we have all found that notes stuffed in binders and books on a shelf aren’t the most efficient or effective ways to learn. The A Better Way 2 Learn methodology insures that participants go far beyond just settling for more information. The next five steps briefly explained below are what separates A Better Way 2 Learn from any other approach to adult education available to bring about improvement and the discovery of business solutions. Every lesson plan and agenda created for an A Better Way 2 Learn solution is developed with each of these 7 steps carefully considered in order to insure that a participant’s success will go beyond simply gathering information to gaining the wisdom to continue to grow and prosper.
    3. ENGAGE IN DEBATE – We should question everything about the information we gather considering every aspect of it in order to gain a deeper and more total understanding. In A Better Way 2 Learn, each lesson has focused questions and exercises designed to bring about discussion that will not only provide this deeper understanding but also give clear direction of how the information can be applied to a participant’s current state in order to move to the desired outcome being pursued. By experiencing the thoughts and input of others that may or may not align with our own, we are placed in a position that will enable us to explore information from a different view. It is the act of exploring information and not just gathering it that will increase our ability to go beyond just learning to acquiring knowledge.
    4. ACQUIRE KNOWLEDGE – A willingness to seek and gain a deeper understanding of information brings us to the point of being knowledgeable. Unfortunately, many struggling individuals and companies will be satisfied with knowledge and not commit to the next step. We all may know one or two people whose level of success does not seem to reflect all that they tell us that they know. These individuals are confusing their acquisition of mass amounts of information with the more important aspect of being knowledgeable. The one clear defining difference between merely having information on a subject and being knowledgeable is the latter gives us the confidence to take action and move forward. This is why engaging in debate that brings us to this level of understanding is so important. When we hear that others have tried and succeeded, or tried and failed only to try again and succeed, it adds credibility to the knowledge we have acquired and most importantly the willingness to set a course of action on our ideas based on that knowledge.
    5. TAKE ACTION – Ideas without action are soon lost. Calvin Coolidge called the individual described above who has more information and yet has no use of it or benefit from it, “the Educated Derelict.” A “derelict” is a term given to a ship at sea that was abandoned to simply float along without a destination or direction. With that definition, we can certainly see that being an individual that has the information or even the knowledge yet refuses to apply it to achieve a result is much like a ship abandoned at sea drifting with cargo onboard that benefits no one. Every lesson plan in an A Better Way 2 Learn program promotes action to be taken on the subject of that session. It is quite often a small step, but the habit of acquiring knowledge and taking action is soon developed in participants, and the cumulative total of many small steps results in large gains over the course of the program.
    6. ASSESS RESULTS – A clear plan with the knowledge and confidence to act will always help us move beyond complacency to achieve results. A willingness to accept the results we achieve as part of the process of learning enables every result to be positive and growth oriented. In assessing results, three types will emerge. EXPECTED RESULTS – We set a goal to achieve something specific from the action and we did. The next step is to evaluate “why” and what we learned that can help us in the future. DISAPPOINTING RESULTS – We fell short of our specific goal, and the next step is to evaluate “why” and what we learned that can help us in the future. UNEXPECTED RESULTS – Something unique and surprising resulted from our action and the next step is to evaluate “why” and what we learned that can help us in the future. Obviously there is commonality in each of the three types of results: “why” did this happen and what can we learn from it that will help us in the future? We will never be able to accomplish 100% of the things we set out to accomplish; if we did we can be certain that our goals were not set to stretch us beyond our expectations. We can however learn something from everything we set out to accomplish by assessing the results and determining how to apply that assessment in the future. The results we obtain, regardless of the outcome or the degree of success, become our source for wisdom.
    7. ACQUIRE WISDOM – This step in the A Better Way 2 Learn methodology should not be considered the last. Acquiring wisdom is actually the first step that leads to continual improvement and identifying a future need in the educational journey. The following is a paraphrased quote from a book written by James Allen in 1901, titled From Poverty to Power.“As failure is the direct outcome of ignorance, so when the lessons of failure are fully learned, ignorance passes away, and wisdom takes its place. But as a disobedient child refuses to learn its lessons at school, so it is possible to refuse to learn the lessons of experience, and thus to remain in continued darkness and to suffer continually recurring setbacks in the form of, disappointment, and frustration. He, therefore, who would shake himself free of these setbacks which encompass him, must be willing and ready to learn and must be prepared to undergo that disciplinary process without which no grain of wisdom or abiding success and personal satisfaction can be secured.”It may take several readings through that paragraph for us to fully realize the basic truths this author of long ago is trying to share. In simplest terms, we must be willing to accept and apply all that we learn from the results of prior actions in order to improve and succeed in the future. This willingness is that unexplainable difference between individuals or companies that grow and prosper and those that do not.

TAKING THE NEXT STEP . . . Refusing to act in reality is an action. With every A Better Way 2 Learn program, we make it easy for you to take action by eliminating any risk as you evaluate it. As you and your company take this next step, you will see how the A Better Way 2 Learn process described above is wrapped into every lesson plan. You will also experience the methodology firsthand as you systematically evaluate the effectiveness of the program through the first two lessons before using your experience to determine your next step.

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