The role of learning in a human resource development context
From the moment we are born we are exposed to experiences from which we may, or may not, learn something. Some of our learning may occur spontaneously and in unstructured situations, whilst in others learning is planned and structured. Throughout our lives we continue to learn and the process of acquiring new skills or behaviours often appears to be automatic. It is as if no conscious effort is required on our part. For example, locating the correct place of items at the supermarket may appear to be automatic and is influenced by our experience at other supermarkets. Other forms of learning require much greater attention, practice and reflection. For example, a doctor learns to diagnose and treat illness through study, practice and feedback. Much of our learning takes place within a social context where the behaviour of others influences our learning. For example, we learn to display appropriate behaviour in different situations. Our behaviour at an informal party with friends is very different to that at a job interview. Such appropriate behaviour may result from direct feedback, or from observation and reflection.