It’s Time to Upgrade Your Brain’s Learning Software

Everything is changing around us. It was challenging enough to deal with the “then normal” pace of change before COVID19. But it’s clear, even bigger changes in work and relationships are on the horizon.  This creates a massive learning challenge (opportunity!). We all need upgraded and new skills and attitudes about work, family, careers, social interactions, personal change and more.  But most people approach these changes with outdated learning mindsets and skills.  It’s like using a car to “drive” into space!

Think of Learning as a program that runs in your brain and body (yes, your body is part of your learning system!). This critical program runs on the equivalent of neurological and social hardware.  From time to time in your life you have to upgrade to a new version of this critical software.

You have updated your internal learning “programs” two or three times in life. It’s now time for a fourth upgrade that is equivalent to what in business is often called Industrie 4.0 . In the world of I4.0, the things around you are “smart” – sensing, communicating, cooperating, making decentralized decisions).  These create the need for a matching learning program for all of us.

Here are the three internal learning programs that are in use today but need an upgrade:

  • Learning 1.0 (Search). This is the learning programming that you were born with: to develop through trial and error and imitation.  Learning 1.0 comes with a massive built-in human capability that provides powerful basic neurophysiology and also makes learning intrinsically rewarding.  We were designed with the potential to be learning dynamos. 
  • Learning 2.0 (Social and School): This is the learning programming and discipline that teachers and parents helped you develop so that you could succeed in the school environment. With L2.0 you internalized the value systems, models, and information you needed to join society as an adult informed by knowledge amassed throughout civilization.
  • Learning 3.0 (Self-Directed): This is the post-school programing that, with little or no guidance (maybe with the help of a periodic mentor, coach or course)  you are inventing and cobbling together to deal with adult responsibilities at work, at home, in all aspects of personal life.  For most of us this L3.0 version is a kind of survival upgrade that we invent as we go along.

These internal “programs” are not good enough for learning  today. Success at work and in life requires a fourth upgrade:  Learning 4.0.

  • Learning 4.0 (Smart): It’s early days for this learning upgrade which draws on neuroscience, psychology, and other relatively recent discoveries about how we as humans transform through our lives. L4.0 is an advanced capability that enables us to be active, skilled and successful lifelong learners in this rapidly changing, connected, digital, knowledge age.

How up to date is the internal program that drives and guides your personal learning and change? Is it time for you to upgrade your learning “software? Without this new Learning 4.0 software to guide learning, it will be very, very difficult to keep up with the increasing complexity and speed of change, to match wits with technology, or to become all you can be in these complex times.


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