Guide to Lessons Learnt
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What do we mean by Lessons Learnt?
A lesson learnt is an experience gained during the course of your Joint Programme that led to greater knowledge or understanding. This experience could have been based on either positive or negative events – i.e. responding to a new opportunity or unanticipated challenge – but the key point is that you learned something from this experience.
Why do we need them?
The key purpose of collecting lessons learnt is to help others build upon your learning experience, thus helping them to achieve the same results, or better, so that the process is one of continuous improvement on outcomes.
Think about how many times you have faced a new challenge that you were unsure how to approach. Chances are, someone else had been in a similar situation, and their experiences could have helped you to better address the issue at hand. Through the collection and sharing of lessons learned, we hope to help others in similar fields of work to replicate your successes, and avoid the inefficiencies and frustrations of always “reinventing the wheel”.
How to identify and communicate these lessons?
So how can you best identify which are the key lessons learnt through the experience of your Joint Programme, and how can you help to share this knowledge with others? Here are some key points:
To begin identifying potential lessons, reflect upon your experience in the Joint Programme and consider the following:
- Did anything happen in the course of your Joint Programme that caused you to change your strategy/approach? ‐ This could have been in response to a new challenge or opportunity that arose – for example, if there was resistance to your original plans from various stakeholders.
- If you had to go back and start the Joint Programme again, what would you do differently? ‐ Think about the learning experience you had which would make you change your approach in the future.
Once you have identified some lessons, ask yourself if and which situations these lessons could be reused by others:
- Keep in mind that the key to a good lesson is replicability, so always consider how your lesson can help others to replicate your successes and/or avoid some of the hurdles you experienced.
Finally, think about how your lessons learnt could best be communicated to others:
- Concrete stories tend to be much more effective than abstract lessons ‐ Try to identify a story which showcases your learning experience and the lesson that is ultimately revealed.