We live in an era and culture that’s preoccupied with tracking personal metrics, or quantitative assessment. Attempting to attain self-knowledge through numbers is more popular than ever. But is it possible to discover our “learning quotient,” or our ability to learn new things and adapt new skills and behaviors?
Attempting to measure cerebral matters is nothing new. After all, we’ve got ways to tally one’s Intelligence Quotient (IQ), Motivational Quotient (MQ), Experience Quotient (XQ), and even Emotional Quotient (EQ). In their book Learning to Work, the authors suggest that these are the factors that seem to predict our “learnability”:
- Family/social background
- Cognitive ability
- Personality (openness, conscientiousness)
- Motivation to learn
The authors suggest that a traditional mathematical equation isn’t possible for assessing LQ, but it is possible to measure each of the above factors on a scale to determine a “pattern of learnability.” For example, you can rate one’s educational background on a scale that includes “highly successful” on one end and “very poor” on the other. Or in measuring social background, the extremes might be “encouraged to work and read” and “no encouragement at all.”
Adrian Furnham continues examining the role of LQ at work in his book Management Intelligence. “People with higher LQ cope better with ambiguity and complexity: they experiment and handle new ideas deftly. They are characterized by curiosity and imagination.” He goes on to suggest that organizations should put more emphasis on LQ early in their employees’ tenure and make LQ resources available, so that employees can develop meaningful career paths.
Of course we’re getting into tricky territory when we talk about making assessments based on age, family background, etc, especially in the workplace. But I do believe that willingness to learn and dedication are important factors to consider when developing a training program. The more we know about the audience’s desire and readiness for learning the material, we can structure the materials accordingly so that they get the most out of the learning experience.
What do you think of “LQ,” and how does your organization consider “learnability” when training staff?