In 2010, former Major League Baseball player and Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista finally found his swing, clubbing a team-high 54 homeruns going into the final game of the season, and ultimately emerging as a serious offensive threat in the American League.
However, the thought Bautista could change the course of a game with a single swing wasn’t always a fear of opposing teams. In fact, he was a sure-fire out from his rookie season in 2004 until “Bautista 2.0” was born in 2010.
Bautista credits his late success to Blue Jays hitting coach Dwayne Murphy, who noticed a hitch in his swing prior to the start of the 2010 season. Murphy, acting on his extensive knowledge as a hitting coach, demonstrated to Bautista in front of a mirror how the length of his swing was enabling pitchers to overpower him with fastballs.
In the weeks to come, Bautista actively learned how to shorten his swing by applying Murphy’s suggestions at the plate. In doing so, Bautista was able to retain these adjustments by learning, doing and repeating the process.
This method is formally known as active learning. It’s a universal practice not married to baseball or sports directly, and it most certainly can be applied in any business setting that requires employees to actively expand their skillset.
Though it was coined “active learning” in the early ‘90s, learning by doing is an age-old practice. Active learning’s focus is to put the responsibility of learning in the learners’ hands. It removes the traditional teacher-student dynamic, where the student simply retains information from the teacher. Instead, the teacher facilitates the hands-on learning exercises practiced by the student.
Benefits of active learning range in significance, but past research has proven an increase in content knowledge for participants of this approach, as well as the development of critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Creative thinking, collaboration, interpersonal skills, and learner motivation (possibly the most important advantage of them all) are known benefits of this learning initiative.
In Bautista’s case, the active learning approach allowed him to:
- Identify the hitch in his swing.
- Collaborate with Murphy, who explained the need to shorten his swing.
- Assess and implement Murphy’s recommendations through the learn, do and repeat
To be fair, making significant real-time changes as a professional athlete – or a professional in general – is a daunting task. But Bautista’s motivation to improve his game allowed him to persevere. The same can be said for any employee in the workplace who wishes to up their game, whether it involves in-person training or from an online approach (the latter offers endless opportunities for collaboration and entails assignments built around active participation).
At CorpU, we’ve modeled our entire learning approach to compliment active learning. Our cohort-guided learning platform, coupled with collaborative activities that require interpersonal and critical-thinking skills, assist CorpU participants in both their success during the course and in the workplace, where they implement what they’ve learned in real-time to get real-time results.
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