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Using the learning quotient to boost your agility and set smart goals

Your learning quotient (LQ) measures your learning aptitude and agility. Understanding your LQ can help you build a future-ready career and achieve your goals.

Oct 27, 2023 • 6 Minute Read

A green plant sits in a hot pink pot. In the background, there's a tan fence and a blue sky.
  • Business
  • Professional Development
  • Learning & Development

A true marvel of the human species is our capacity to adapt, grow, and evolve. It’s this same ability that can boost your agility and employability. In this article, I unwrap an idea that’s rapidly gaining traction in corporate environments around the globe: learnability.

Table of contents

Learnability in technology

In the realm of technology, learnability is commonly associated with software design, where it’s vital to ensure products are user-friendly and easy to understand. Within the world of AI, learnability refers to an AI system’s ability to learn from data and past experiences, identify patterns and trends, and make well-informed decisions.

But learnability also applies to the human mind. Understanding learnability can help you navigate the ever-changing work environment and create an action plan for your professional development.

The human element of learnability

Outside the realms of software development and machine learning, the definition of learnability refers to your ability to absorb and apply new knowledge, behaviors, and hard and soft skills quickly and effectively. It’s a measure of your openness to change and readiness to take calculated risks.

Learnability also reflects how interested you are in expanding your existing knowledge base to enhance your skill set and capabilities. Put another way, it represents your thirst to improve your intellectual and emotional intelligence.

In a rapidly transforming world, the survival of organizations and individuals hinges on their ability to adapt and evolve. Lifelong learning is no longer a luxury—it's a necessity for employment

Your employability is now defined more by your capacity to learn than what you already know. This requires you to lean into learnability. And the Learnability Quotient, or LQ, can help you get started.

The rise of the Learning Quotient

The Learnability Quotient (LQ) uses a variety of mechanisms to assess your ability to learn, adapt, and navigate new concepts. Think of it as a measure of your learning aptitude. 

Understanding your LQ can help you identify your preferred learning style and learning environment. It can also provide insight into whether you favor traditional approaches to solving problems or you're the type to dive in headfirst to grapple with new challenges using innovative solutions. This knowledge comes in handy when setting goals and executing a personal development plan.

The Learning Quotient in the workplace

LQ is gaining significance in the workplace, becoming almost as important as IQ (Intelligence Quotient) and EQ (Emotional Quotient). Yes, you read that right: Your learnability might soon be as important as your overall intelligence and emotional intelligence. 

In a world that’s changing at an unprecedented pace, employers are seeking team members committed to continuous growth and personal development. They need employees who can keep up with change and drive it. After all, the way we work today will inevitably differ from the way we work tomorrow. The willingness to learn, adapt, and evolve is crucial to keeping up.

Harnessing the power of LQ: The benefits of learnability

Enhancing your learnability improves other areas of your life as well. These benefits can act as powerful reminders and inspiration to help you focus on your path of continuous learning.

  1. Increased self-awareness: Enhancing your learnability helps you gain a deeper understanding of your strengths and weaknesses, empowering you to take concrete steps toward achieving your goals.
  2. Enhanced productivity: High learnability indicates you can absorb information quickly and retain it longer. This increases your productivity and allows you to accomplish tasks more efficiently.
  3. Improved problem-solving skills: Through learnability techniques, you become a better problem solver and acquire the knowledge needed to tackle complex issues.
  4. Greater adaptability: The capacity to quickly acquire new knowledge increases your adaptability, helping you succeed in ever-changing environments.
  5. Better conflict-resolution skills: As your learning quotient expands, you become more effective in managing conflicts, leading to more productive and positive working relationships.

My favorite benefit of learnability is the improved perspective it provides on the world and ourselves. As a culture strategist, I work with leaders to create cultures of inclusion. Improving learnability is crucial in this work, as it increases our ability to consider perspectives through lenses different from our own. This strengthens our personal relationships and broadens our social awareness.

Mastering learnability: The role of COGS in personal and professional development

You know a cog as a toothed wheel that interlocks with other cogs to generate movement and power. However, in this context, COGS is an acronym I coined to represent distinct steps relevant to learnability and personal development.

Before engaging with the COGS framework, it's crucial to understand your starting point. That’s where your LQ comes in. LQ is often measured using diverse indicators, including self-assessments, cognitive ability tests, personality tests, behavioral assessments, and performance evaluations.

Several companies have devised engaging assessments that delve into different aspects of LQ. However, my preferred method to determine your learnability starting point combines self-assessment with feedback from coworkers, friends, or family members. These insights yield valuable data for assessing learnability levels and spotting areas for improvement. You can use my self-assessment tool to start measuring your progress.

COGS framework: Unleashing the potential for enhanced learnability

Once you've recognized your starting point, the subsequent step in our framework is engaging your COGS. COGS stands for commitment, organization, goals, and support. Like the cogs in a machine, you must properly align these components to drive your personal growth and set SMART goals.


Commitment is the foundation of learnability and achieving your goals. It represents your dedication to ongoing learning and desire to improve. It's important to establish a strong sense of commitment, as it will drive your motivation to keep learning and adapting to change.


Organization involves organizing your time, space, and resources to create an environment that supports your learning goals. This includes setting aside dedicated time for learning, decluttering your workspace, and establishing routines and systems to help you stay focused. Organization also involves identifying the tools and resources you'll need to accomplish your goals.


Achievable, SMART goals play a pivotal role in keeping you on track in your learning journey. They provide a roadmap so you stay focused and motivated.


Support from your team, peers, manager, or mentor is crucial for navigating change and enhancing learnability. A robust support system can help you overcome challenges and focus on achieving your goals.

Progress and perseverance: Essential steps post-COGS implementation

After successfully integrating the COGS framework into your personal development plan, your journey isn’t over. Two key steps follow this process: measuring progress and embracing the journey of continuous improvement. These are not part of the COGS framework but essential subsequent steps that ensure you stay on track and continue to evolve.

Measuring your learning progress

Once you’ve set your course with COGS, it's time to evaluate your progress. This isn’t merely a process of checking boxes; it's an opportunity to gain deeper insights into your actions, empowering you to take charge of your learning journey.

You measure progress by reflecting on how far you've come in your learning. An excellent way to do this is to revisit your self-reflection assessment periodically (ideally every few months). This allows you to examine your progress, identify areas for improvement, and refine your strategies if needed.

Another crucial element of measuring progress is feedback. Gathering insights from your support team, colleagues, friends, and family provides different perspectives and helps you recognize areas you might have overlooked. This collective wisdom can fuel your progress and enhance your personal growth.

Using the rinse and repeat methodology

After implementing the COGS framework, move onto the shampoo-bottle step: rinse and repeat. This step is a reminder that personal growth is a cyclical process.

Once you've measured your progress, return to your strategies, SMART goals, and commitment to growth. It's a moment to dive back into your personal development work with renewed energy, incorporating lessons from your progress and setbacks.

This step is all about resilience. Even if your progress isn't as you envisioned, you shouldn’t be disheartened. Instead, take it as an opportunity to refine your approach and tackle your goals with renewed vigor. The journey of personal growth is filled with ups and downs, but with each “rinse and repeat” cycle, you come back stronger, more knowledgeable, and more prepared to take on the next challenge.

Learnability builds future-ready careers

The future belongs to the learnable. The future will favor those ready to take on new knowledge, ditch the outdated stuff, and learn again. Your desire to know more, your readiness to fulfill that desire, and your knack for using what you learn will set you apart in ever-changing work and social environments. 

Commit to a  journey of lifelong learning and unlock an enriched life of growth, adaptability, and success. The journey of learning is, after all, the journey of life.

If you’re interested in delving deeper into the topic of learnability, check out my newly launched Pluralsight course, Navigating the Challenges of Change in Your Work Environment. This course is packed with valuable insights and practical tools that will help you understand the importance of learnability and other key skills for managing change effectively.

Check out my Pluralsight courses for more practical tips.

Alice Meredith

Alice M.

Alice has vast experience as a multi-level senior leader with retail operations and human resources as specialties. Experience includes 27 years of leadership supporting technology companies holding positions of Regional Director, District Manager, Senior HR Market Manager, and Senior Manager Labor & Employee Relations.

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