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Why is a growth mindset SO important for the learning process?

Ana Nastase
8 Nov, 2021
3 m read

Growth mindset vs fixed mindset

The mindset is crucial. You have to change your mindset. You must shift your mindset to accomplish this. Have you ever heard these expressions before? Probably yes. Mindset has become a buzzword lately, especially in the corporate environment, which is subject to change and must learn how to adapt. 

You should know that this word has also been researched by theoreticians, and Carol Dweck’s research talks about two kinds of mindsets: growth and fixed. According to him, a growth mindset is “the belief that an individual’s most basic abilities and skills can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point”, whereas a fixed mindset is “the belief that an individual’s basic abilities and skills, their intelligence and their talents, are just fixed traits” (source). 

Ways to develop a growth mindset

Put differently, a growth mindset can be a great source of motivation, especially in learning, because it puts learners in control of what they’re doing, encouraging them to cultivate abilities and traits, as well as to see challenges as opportunities to learn. Here are some methods of developing a growth mindset in the business environment, for both working and learning. 

Encourage learners to focus on the process

It’s really important to see learning as a whole experience rather than an end goal to be accomplished at the end of the training process, and this is essential when developing a growth mindset. The ability to cultivate specific traits is developed step by step, during a broader process, which also allows the learners to immerse themselves in every task, rather than performing it mechanically to reach the specific end goal. 

Or, as Andrian Teodora wrote, “anything worth doing is worth doing poorly - until you can learn to do it well”. Thus, doing things, even if you do them wrongly at first, is still better than doing nothing, as long as you actually learn from the things you’ve done wrongly. 

Put in time and effort

If you want to engage in a certain activity in order to develop, you should know that your time and effort are essential here. If you only dedicate yourself 20% percent to a certain task, that’s exactly what you will get back: 20% percent of the desired results. And yes, at the beginning might be frustrating, but “one of the best ways to remind yourself to persevere and resist giving up after you have a setback is to use the word yet” (source). For example, you might not be familiar with this technology yet. You might not know how to lead a team yet. You might not know how to actually implement this methodology yet. But eventually, you will know. 

Become self-aware and set up a purpose

Knowing your purpose is a great way to start the development process. Let’s say, for example, that you are enrolled into an Agile course. If the company forces you to be a part of this learning program, you’ll most probably set your mind on the idea that 2 or 3 days later, when the training is over, you can get back to your work. You can forget the parts of the training that you found difficult. You can put any questions you might have aside, because the subject is not important to you. 

But if you actually want to learn how to implement the Agile methodology, the training is so much more than a 3 day activity. It is an opportunity to learn and actually take every piece of information and every practical task into consideration, putting efforts into it, trying to figure out how these specific activities can translate into a new mindset for your work and so on. Thus, self-awareness and a specific purpose really make the difference. 

Some (final) thoughts

Try to build an organizational and learning culture where employees are encouraged to develop a growth mindset, primarily for their own development, where learning opportunities are created and mistakes are seen as contexts to practice skills and to improve.

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