Change and the Individual

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Learning Theory

“Learning is described as ‘the process of acquiring knowledge through experience which leads to an enduring change in behaviour’
(Huczynski and Buchanan, 2007).

‘It is ‘a qualitative change in a person’s way of seeing, experiencing, understanding, conceptualising something in the real world’
(Marton and Ramsden, 1988).

Learning includes both the procedural elements required to complete a task and gaining the underpinning or background understanding and attitudes needed to perform the task effectively in its organizational context.”
(CMI CMBoK “The Effective Change Manager” 2013)

Unlearning to ride a bicycle:

Change and Learning

Training:focus is on the activity of the 'trainer'
Learning:focus is on the activity of the 'learner'

Learning and the Individual Learner

All personal change involves unlearning old ways of behaving and learning new ones

The Learning Cycle (David Kolb, 1984)

  • Concrete Experience (Something happens)
  • Reflective Observation (You think about it)
  • Abstract Conceptualization (You identify a pattern)
  • Practical Experimentation (You test your theory) (Leads back to step 1)

Someone with a preference for:

Concrete experience --- is described as Activist
Reflective observation --- is described as Reflector
Abstract Conceptualization --- is described as Theorist
Practical Experimentation --- is described as Pragmatist

Different Learning Styles:

Examples of Different Learners


  • On-job learning by trial and error
  • Coaching from a respected practitioner
  • Activity-based learning in groups
  • Well-simulated work environments


  • Observing others ‘live’ or on video
  • Action learning sets
  • Making notes and keeping learning diary
  • Well-simulated work environments


  • Practical workshops
  • On-job learning by trial and error
  • Applying tools and models to practise situations
  • Well-simulated work environments


  • Courses and seminars
  • Lectures and presentations
  • Reading and personal research
  • Well-simulated work environments

Conscious Competence Learning Model

Unconscious Incompetence: I know how to do my current job
Conscious Incompetence: I have a new way of working and it is challenging
Conscious Competence: I am making progress as long as I take it slowly
Unconscious Competence: I can do this quite easily now

Hulahoop video:

The Learning 'Dip'


Key Principles of learning

  • Things should be learnt the way they will be used – groupings of KSAs* should reflect the combinations in which they will be applied after the change is complete
  • Learning should be followed immediately by its application – learning activities should ideally be delivered ‘just in time’, immediately before the change is implemented and the learning will be used


  • Q1. What are your experiences of the ‘learning dip’?
  • Q2. How did this experience affect you/others?
  • Q3. What would have helped you through the ‘dip’?

The Change Curve

The Kubler-Ross grief cycle. Moving personally through change.

  • Most people go through all stages.
  • People use different lengths of time in different stages
  • The stages apply to positive and negative change

Managing Transition

Transition – the human, psychological process of letting go of one pattern and engaging with a new one
“Letting go of the old ways and the old identity people had. This first phase of transition is an ending, and the time when you need to help people to deal with their losses."

“Going through an in-between time when the old is gone but the new isn’t fully operational. We call this time the “neutral zone”: it’s when the critical psychological realignments and repatternings take place."

“Coming out of the transition and making a new beginning. This is when people develop the new identity, experience the new energy, and discover the new sense of purpose that make the change begin to work.”
Bridges (2009)

Video - Let it go

Bridges' Stages of Transition


Booklist for this section:

  • Learning and Development
  • Making sense of Change Management
  • The Effective Change Manager
  • Learning Styles and Pedagogy
  • EduTech wiki
  • To Improve the Academy
  • The Conditions of Learning Training Applications
  • The Historical Development of Program Evaluation
  • The Manual of Learning Styles
  • Organizational Behaviour
  • Evaluation of Training
  • Training and Development
  • Experiential Learning
  • Improving Learning
  • The Conscious Competence Learning Model
  • The Essential Handbook for GP Training and Education
  • Executive Coaching with Backbone and Heart
  • Learning Styles: Concepts and Evidence
  • Action Learning: Its terms and Character
  • ABC of Action Learning
  • Journal of Consulting Psychology
  • Kurt Lewin's Change Theory in the Field and in the Classroom
  • Multiple-Factor Analysis: A development and expansion of the vectors on the mind
  • Evaluation of Management Training
  • GROWing human potential and purpose
  • Introducing Psychology: An experimental approach