Push vs Pull Learning

When it comes to learning, it seems that nearly everyone loves to learn, but not everyone likes to be taught. Push learning happens when an outside source or authority selects curriculum for a learner. It comes with an implied understanding that “You have to learn this.” In a teacher-centric learning system, like most schools, the push learning methodology reigns supreme. But, it also goes against the natural course of a mind’s learning process. 

The human mind is designed to learn on an opt-in basis. The person controls motives and reasoning for learning. When someone is genuinely interested in learning, they learn faster, retain the information longer, and are more likely to integrate the knowledge into their overall knowledge base, creating stronger cognitive connection points for future learning. When information is pushed, the person naturally resists the experience and decides to minimize their time and depth with the process.   

On the flip side, pull learning is centered on the learners’ decisions and preferences about learning, their relationship to the meaning of the content, and the ultimate value of the curricula. In organizations that have evolved their learning strategies from mandated training classes toward becoming a “learning organization,” the employees drive the learning content and the delivery methods most commonly offered. These organizations realized that providing learning opportunities as a means to greater job success gave them an increased ability to compete. It also drove employee performance and retention numbers through the roof as people found greater esteem, respect, and satisfaction as added benefits of working there.  

Pull learning is learner-driven and, therefore, becomes an extension of the internal composition of the person. Their identity becomes vested in “getting what it wants” and owning their destiny. Being able to choose what path to follow gives students confidence they are able to go anywhere they want to in life. 

Now that you know the difference between push and pull learning, you can decide for yourself which type best fits with your needs, goals, and personal outlook on learning. You can also choose to apply one of these methodologies to your business, depending on which makes the most sense. How do you like to learn? What do you think is the most effective learning method for your company? Hopefully, this discussion has helped you decide!

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