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Why Cognitive Ability Predicts the Ability to Learn?

Lead consultant at Test Partnership, Ben Schwencke, explains why cognitive ability predicts the ability to learn.

1:45 It's important to know what cognitive ability really is, and why it's important in the workplace.
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Cognitive Ability and the Ability to Learn.

Now, ability tests are among the strongest predictors of performance we know of in the workplace and one of the main reasons, is it underpins your ability to learn.

Now this affects performance in two ways: one that is quite obvious, and one that’s a little bit more unknown to practitioners.

So firstly and that most importantly, people who are smarter, obviously, are going to learn.

They're going to learn more effectively, they're going to learn quicker, and they're going to process that learned knowledge a little bit more effectively than people with less cognitive ability.

So, in graduate roles for example, the use of cognitive ability tests, aptitude tests very common.

Very common place and very justified because you need people who are going to take on a lot of knowledge.

In typical graduates schemes they're going to be learning a lot and if they can’t learn that information they're probably not going to apply that information down the line and so, you need candidates that have that cognitive ability so that they can learn.

But, particularly in more senior roles, the other advantage is that cognitive ability is effectively a proxy for how much they will have already learned because cognitive ability places an upper limit on how much knowledge one can acquire in their life.

So, using cognitive ability tests even in more senior roles, is often worth doing because it is used for proxy for how much learned knowledge they will have acquired already not just how much they can acquire, which of course perhaps is a little bit less important when it comes to senior roles but you need them to already have that knowledge.

Cognitive ability largely underpins that.