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What is Learning Agility and How It Can Help You Grow

Wendy Tan

Author, Keynote Speaker & Managing Partner of Flame Centre | Future Skills Institute

Updated 13 Mar 2023


Learning agility is the ability to learn different skills and capabilities easily and quickly.

People with high learning agility:

  • Know what they need to learn

  • How to learn effectively

  • Monitor and improve their learning

Based on my doctoral research, highly agile learners have high metacognitive ability. They reflect and apply more to their learning, and have more learning strategies than others.

Is learning agility a skill? Can we teach learning agility?

  • Yes, learning agility is a skill we can all learn.

  • The World Economic Forum, SkillsFuture SG and McKinsey list learning agility as one of the top skills to prepare for the future.

What does learning agility encompass?

Five components are needed to be an agile learner:

1. Motivation

We want to learn because we believe what we learn will impact the world for the better. We also learn to be successful in our careers.

2. Proactive initiative

This is an attitude to take charge of our learning and have confidence in our ability to learn.

3. Metacognitive ability

This is the ability to set learning goals, make a learning plan, implement your plan and review the learning to make improvement.

4. Learning strategies

These are activities to learn:

  • Taking in content from books, courses, videos and experts

  • Reflecting on the content and one's assumptions to derive new insights

  • Experimenting and applying the learning

  • Getting feedback on our application

5. Environment to apply our learning

  • Having a job or assignment that compels us to learn in order to be successful

  • Colleagues or teammates to share diverse perspectives, learning resources and give each other feedback

  • A manager or mentor to guide and challenge us

  • An organization that helps us assess the skills we need to learn for the future, gives us access to learning resources or tech tools to support learning.

Why is learning agility important?

  • To acquire new skills and capabilities quickly as jobs change and new skills are required.

  • To learn how to be successful in new or uncertain situations where the solution needs to be discovered.

  • When we learn, we feel successful and confident, empowered to make a difference, and enjoy positive outcomes like more career options or more fulfillment.

How to learn and improve learning agility?

  • Increase motivation to learn

  • Develop proactive initiative

  • Learn the metacognitive ability

  • Cultivate a network of experts

  • Join communities that are learning the skills

  • Get a job or assignment that compels you to learn to be successful

  • Shape your learning environment to apply and obtain feedback

What is learning agility in leadership?

  • Leaders need to be agile learners to path-find in new and uncertain situations.

  • Leaders need to deal with an increasingly wider span of areas. Learning about different areas to know what questions to ask is key to success.

Can learning agility be assessed?

  • Yes, learning agility can be assessed.

  • Learning agility can be assessed by measuring the factors that influence it, such as motivation, attitude and process.

If this topic is useful to you, let’s schedule a chat. Feel free to share this blog with others in your network. Thank you!


  • What do I learn?

Do you know your strengths and the skills to develop to grow your career? Here's how to enhance your skills.

  • Find out more! Check out our infographics

  • Custom Keynote Presentations

Why should you learn from Flame Centre?

These are the unique experience we offer:

  • Research-based strategies

  • Learning Agility Profile

  • Tech-enabled learning platform to enhance your learning experience

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