There are many reasons or motivations to learn. From our boss asking us to solve a problem in an unfamiliar field of science, to simple curiosity.
When faced with an unusual failure mode, we need to learn what is causing the failure in order to solve the problem. When exploring a new material, we want to learn how it will fail in our design.
As reliability professionals, we are professional learners or should be.
Let’s take a look at a list of motivations that you may experience that prompt you to learn. When you review the past month or year, you will notice how much you learned.
When you feel one of these motivations, go with it. Learn, grow, and improve your capability as a reliability professional. Furthermore, you can foster these motivations with your team and colleagues, as well.
If you ever wondered:
- What would happen if …
- Why did that …
- How often does …
Or similar questions, you are being curious. That is good. It is often the question, such as these, that leads to informative discoveries and solutions. Be curious, ask questions, wonder.
Curiosity suggests there is a gap between what you understand and your observations. There is more to know. With practice, you can hone your curiosity to detect knowledge gaps more often, which is a good thing.
What is behind the corner? How stable is this process? What is the optimum timing for preventative maintenance?
We may have a task or objective in mind, then look for an answer. We actively engage in learning to find a solution.
When you conduct an experiment, you are seeking knowledge. In reliability work, every test we run should help us and our team learn.
A course certificate, the CRE or CMRP certification, an advanced degree. Sometimes the reward is a formal recognition of completion. Sometimes it is a bonus or promotion.
Solving reliability problems doesn’t always result in a reward back to you and your team, yet it does happen on occasion and may become a powerful motivator.
4. Uncertainty and Risk
An FMEA study will nearly always include results that suggest we don’t know enough about the failure causes or frequency of occurrence to finalize the study. We need to chip away at what we don’t know.
Another example is that sense that something isn’t right about a new design. It’s just a hunch, and not clear enough to take action. We need to cause the failure to occur to better understand how the design fails. HALT is a great tool to reduce uncertainty.
Risk is a similar concept. For example, we often work to learn enough about a new product to estimate the field failure rate. Not knowing what or when or how often a product will fail is a risk to the organization. We learn about our design and products in order to reduce uncertainty and risk.
Learning the details of a failure mechanism provides the knowledge you need to confidently spot and resolve those issues. Being confident is seen as a desirable trait. You can learn, then apply your knowledge, to create a virtuous cycle of learning and confidence.
Have you noticed that gambling games include a delay from putting your money down to learning the results? Or that desire to check product testing progress, over and over, before it finishes? When in a state of anticipation, our bodies create dopamine which supports our seeking, learning, or pursuing a goal. We feel good and increase our awareness.
Setting goals for yourself or your team benefit the motivation to learn by creating a realistic desired state or outcome. We will have to learn along the way to achieving the goal.
Keep your goals S.M.A.R.T which is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely.
Setting a reliability goal initiates the motivation to learn if the current design as the ability to meet the goal or not.
8. Implementation Intentions
If you have a goal or a reward in mind, setting out a plan to achieve the desired results further improves your motivation to learn. Knowing the next step with a path toward the objectives provides that necessary motivation to get started and continue learning.
When you really get into your work or studies, time seems to stop. You perform with a intense focus coupled with masterful activity. No wasted actions or effort, just you performing at your peak, just meeting the challenge in front of you.
Getting into the flow can be a motivation on its own. Mastery of the tools and techniques within reliability engineering allow you to solve many challenges, and to attain a ‘flow’ state more often.
10. Progress and Optimism
Breaking down a complex problem into the steps you need to learn permits you to tackle and master bits of the overall project one at a time. You make progress toward the larger objective, which increases the optimism you can achieve the desired outcomes.
Couple this will curiosity, goal setting, implementation intentions to increase your motivation to learn just what you need to know each step of the way.
Competing with yourself or with others when linked with learning is called gamification of learning. Keeping score, which not actually part of the learning about ALT or other reliability topics can provide a motivation to learn.
For example, organizations that keep track of black belt project savings provide a means to keep score. Uptime per shift, failure rate per product line, etc all provide a means to compare results.
When you see a completion bar, quiz score tracking, etc within a course, you may feel the motivation of games at work. It’s not just who’s going to win, it includes ‘how am I doing’ as well.
There are many reasons we want to or need to learn. Go with any, all, or the many combinations that may occur to you. Learn, grow, and improve your ability to perform as a reliability professional.
Accendo Reliability is a great place to support your learning and you are welcome to continue to visit and learn here. I may need to create a few game motivations to support your motivation to learn… hum, that seems like a motivation for me to learn more about gamification of learning.
Let us know what motivates you to learn? Seeking new ideas, working to solve a problem, or something else?
If you would like 14 ideas to learning reliability engineering, sign up for the 14 Ways to Learn Reliability Engineering course. It’s free and provides you a single lesson per week.
The 14 Ways to Acquire Reliability Engineering Knowledge provides you with the tools and insights to master this field. Plan to find the know how and resources to accelerate your career and program.