Discovery-Based Learning: From the Inside-Out

October 1, 2019
Discovery-Based Learning: From the Inside-Out

Discovery-based learning is used in scholarly debates and psychological theories. It's something that has been proven effective for decades.

Here at CFS, we use it as a tool to conduct sales training. We shift the expertise from the instructor or speaker to the salesperson or manager. It's truly about discovery, as opposed to being “told” or given an answer.

For me personally, discovery-based learning has been about how I can use the tools taught by CFS to fully grasp the ideals and goals of the company. From the time I began, I was provided with the tools I needed to learn and discover how to do my job–without the need for hand-holding and micro-managing.

Here's why I believe discovery-based learning throughout my training made me better at what I do:

It Taught Me Self-Trust

When someone on the team proposes a new idea to me, it's done without giving every small, minute detail. Discussion in discovery-based learning usually leads to the best and strongest form of that idea or task.

The discussion depends on two things:

  1. Open-ended questions to create a stream of thought for those involved.
  2. The ultimate goal of the proposed task or idea.

When discussions are open , a few things happen:

  1. You have the ability to think through the entire process up to the end goal
  2. You're given the opportunity to make a decision and trust that it will be advantageous.

Micro-managing leads to self-doubt and stress–both which inhibit your ability to perform.

Method Retention

There are some very common practices in life that require discovery-based learning in order to fully retain the information or skill.

In other words, there are certain things where the answers cannot simply be given to you.

You have to discover how to do these things on your own.

For example, walking, swimming, driving. Discovery-based learning alongside practice can be applied to almost anything in life.

It can be extremely difficult to perform a job or task when you are required to follow specific rules or instructions. With this method, you're stuck in a box that allows for no innovation or growth.

I've found that through discovery-based learning, my ability to retain information and apply it has improved significantly.

When you allow someone to discover how or why, you empower them to actually accomplish the how or why.

For me, it's much easier to retain information that I've discovered than it is to try to live through another person's words or ideas.

Think about it:

Someone asks you how to deliver a sandwich but requires that you follow one specific route. You cannot deviate from this route no matter what. Little do they know, you grew up in the area and know a way to shorten your trip time by half. Instead, you must waste time following their route when the only thing that should matter is if the sandwich gets delivered.

Typically, there's multiple ways to do something. And, because people are different, there is no correct way to do it. There's only the best way for one specific person to do something, and you as a manager must allow them to figure out which one works best.

It's easier to remember the steps to any method that feels more natural. And the things that feel more natural are the things that you've discovered for yourself.

Internal Growth

I, like many others, have experienced great work environments as well as not-so-great work environments.

To expand on this, good versus bad is defined as the ability to grow and prevail versus not wanting to step on toes or reach beyond basic job requirements.

In my training at CFS, discovery-based learning enabled growth because I was able to grow as much as I was able to discover.

Think about the best job you've ever had.

What made it so great? What did you like about it? How was your manager?

These questions are probably easy to answer. And, some level of freedom to explore and innovate probably existed in this job.

Without innovation and explorations, it's impossible for employees to grow. Discovery-based learning forces them into this mindset.

Avoid the mindset of, “This is how we have always done it.” This mindset destroys morale and, to be blunt, success.

Instead of giving them a specific list of instructions to repeat time and time again, assign projects with an end goal and a context.

For example, let's say you own a financial services firm and you want to build relationships with existing clients.

Tell your Marketing Department to communicate with current clients to make them feel like they're just as important as when they first signed up with your company. If you really want to, ask for more than one option.

The most important thing is that you let your team have fun and come up with a great way to make this happen.

Open assignments encourage discovery-based learning naturally, which promotes unlimited growth.

Discovery-Based Learning: Moving Forward

Discovery-based learning highlights that there are no right answers when it comes to development and learning.

New paradigms must be created, and the only way to do so is to push limits and have breakthroughs.

Because of discovery-based learning, I was able to ease into my new position without any qualms or doubts. I felt like I was trusted to do my job in a way that worked for me and the company.

Do you have any ideas about how or why discovery-based learning invites self trust, retention, or growth? Comment below and tell us!

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  • Barry Hall - Reply

    Hi Arianna,
    welcome to CFS and I hope everything goes well beyond your expectations.
    You have joined a great team who like you on your first post never disappoint. Good luck with everything and keep up the great words and work. – Barry.

    • Arianna Miskel - Reply

      Thank you so much for the kind words, Barry! I look forward to writing plenty more!

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