The 85% Problem

Early in December I attended a regular learning group with other bishops that I am a part of – The Episcopal Leadership Forum at Duke Divinity School.  While there, we listened to (among other great presentations – including our own Dr. Ginger Bassford – who was outstanding!) the report of some fascinating research done by the Center for Creative Leadership. After extensive research (which was later supported by similar research conducted in Europe), they reported the following fascinating information about learning temperaments.
  • Active Learners – 10% of North Americans
    • Strive to take responsibility for their own learning
    • Take a role in how & what they need to know and what to do about it
    • Educational self-management
    • Self-motivation becomes a greater force behind learning
  • Passive Learners – 85% of North Americans
    • Learner is a recipient
    • Expectation is that others will provide occasion for learning
    • Socialized to believe that personal learning needs are identified and provided by others as determined by a given situation or authority
  • Blocked Learners – 5% of North Americans
    • Appear to be incapable of learning from their experiences
    • Variety of causes
Which category are you in?  Be careful!  Clergy are no different in learning temperaments than the rest of the population.  These insights forced me to stop and engage in personal inventory.  It is too easy to assume that I am in the 10% of active learners.  Self deception is common and all of us wrestle with the malady of such self-deception.  I am asking myself: Am I an active learner?  What evidence is there to support such a conclusion?  I invite the reader to do the same.