Today’s successful higher education institutions focus not only on traditional education but also on building 21st-century skills. Learning agility is one clear example.
This article will discuss what learning agility is, how it applies to real-world situations, and why it’s the key to success for learners in higher education.
What is learning agility?
Learning agility describes a person’s ability to learn new skills and adapt quickly to changes. In today’s fast-moving world, it’s an essential skill for graduates hoping to thrive in the workplace.
There are five subskills under the learning agility umbrella that describe a person’s agility in different areas. These sub skills are mental agility, change agility, people agility, results agility, and self-awareness.
We can measure a person’s learning agility by their ability to:
Learn new skills
Handle feedback well
Apply knowledge in different contexts
Recognise their own strengths and weaknesses
An agile learner will be able to take what they’ve learned in school and apply it to new contexts in work and life. They’ll also be able to take what they’ve learned from previous jobs and apply them to new ones, along with taking on new roles and responsibilities in the workplace.
How higher education institutions can teach learning agility
Learning agility is a skill that all students can develop with the right support from their educational institution.
To build learning agility in students, higher education institutions can:
Offer and encourage students to take on new challenges,
Deliver experiential and work-integrated learning opportunities,
Encourage students to observe and reflect on their learning,
Offer constructive feedback and criticism,
Motivate learners to solve problems independently and creatively.
These experiences can help students learn to manage criticism positively, try new things, and tackle challenges head-on. These behaviours are all key signs of high learning agility.
Why employers value agile learners
Learning agility is a major skill employers look for when interviewing graduates.
Because it’s crucial for professional success.
According to management consulting firm Korn Ferry, learning agility is a top predictor of high potential for job applications. Agile executives are also five times more likely to be highly engaged than non-agile workers—and they’re also promoted twice as fast.
People deal with change frequently in their professional lives. From new programs to policy changes, workers must adapt to stay ahead. Employers, then, place enormous value on workers who have high learning agility and can quickly and confidently accommodate changes.
In the same way, employers look for individuals who can intelligently apply knowledge from school or previous roles to a new position. This tells employers the applicant is prepared for the challenges the job may present and, from the employer’s point of view, could reduce training costs.
A quick summary
Learning agility is a critical skill for students to learn before graduation. Knowing how to apply knowledge and adapt to new situations can help students handle challenges in the workplace and stand out among other job applications.
Teaching learning agility, then, is a powerful way higher education institutions can prepare graduates for success.