Knowledge is power: Why continuous learning is important
Contrary to popular belief, learning doesn’t stop after you finish school. However, the amount of information and new skills you choose to absorb as life goes on can vary.
Of course, you’ll learn naturally each time you switch jobs, or attempt something new. But you can also consciously decide to continue your learning, making an active choice to continuously learn throughout your lifetime.
Continuous learning is important for a variety of reasons. And, it can make life interesting and more enjoyable to educate yourself about new things, people, and places. This article will run through the benefits of continuous learning, how you can do it, and how you can promote it at your workplace as well as in your personal life.
Benefits to continuous learning
Lifelong learning can benefit you professionally and personally. Here are some of the things you’ll gain from committing to it:
Personal and professional growth. Learning new information on a continual basis will ensure you’re constantly re-evaluating your assumptions, methods, and practices. This isn’t to say that constantly learning may shift your sense of self, but it might!
But it mainly means that as your brain processes new information, some of the things you once thought or did previously may no longer make sense. This makes for continued growth in all aspects of your life, whether that be mentally, professionally, spiritually, in relationships, and beyond.
New opportunities. Learning new things can open you up to new opportunities. These can be as simple as a new friend from a new place, or as life-changing as a promotion or new job offer. For example, you may get offered a job in a foreign country after continually working hard to master a new language. Or all those at-home hours building your parenting blog may make it easy for you to help to re-launch your company’s website, earning you a major promotion.
Keep your mind strong (and young!). Wanna stave off dementia? Keep learning. According to the US National Institute of Health, challenging your mind may help your mind stay sharp, especially as you get older. Researchers found that people aged 75 years and older who engaged in active mental learning had a lower risk of dementia than other elderly people. You may as well start the habit now.
Stay marketable in the workplace. Continuous learning is important when it comes to staying relevant in the professional world, especially when it comes to things like tech and social media. Obviously, staying on top of trends and opening yourself up to new AI products and services will ensure you may be first in line for a promotion or new job.
Employers: how can you promote a culture of continuous learning?
If you have a company, run an organization, or lead a team, consider creating learning opportunities for your employees. Employers, together with human resources, should create a training program or plan that includes things like how much time and resources continuous learning would take, and then implement it. This is the ideal way to offer career development and professional development options that will benefit both individuals as well as the organization itself.
It’s also important you provide opportunities for your team to then apply their new knowledge as they learn. For example, specific language, skill, or tech learning may not be retained or taken as seriously without the chance to actually use it within the workplace.
Consider offering employees benefits to match their learning, like more advanced projects, enticing business trips, or perks for completing continuous learning courses, like free lunch or a summer Friday off. For advanced learning, promotions may even be on the table.
Make sure to give employees the adequate time they may need to complete a certification or a license, which will end up benefiting both the employee and the employer. This will contribute to a more positive corporate culture and a more well-rounded business environment, too.
Although it may take time and money, ensuring your teams participate in continuous learning can create a myriad of benefits in the long run for everyone involved:
It’s cost-effective. Employers may initially balk at the cost of training or courses, but really, investing in the development of your team is much cheaper than having to hire new employees with a new or different skill set. Onboarding new employees takes time and money, and will often require expensive formal training.
Happier employees. The content needs to be properly tailored to employee’s needs and not require too much time outside of working hours. But, if done correctly, employees will feel appreciated and excited to continue their learning journey both inside and outside of the company. Microlearning is a great option when it comes to offering your team continuous learning options that both benefit the company, the employee, and are easy to fit into busy days. This style of learning also helps with retention and employee engagement, too.
How to keep learning on your own
Obviously, there are many ways to learn on your own. Here are some of the most popular:
Courses. Sign up for an online or in-person course about something that’s relevant to your professional career or simply interesting to you.
Tech. Stay updated on new programs, trends, and technology. This can be done by listening to podcasts, reading books, or researching online.
Apps. Download useful apps to continue learning. Things that help you learn while doing other things like cleaning or commuting are especially convenient. Whether it be listening to educational articles using the auditory app elocance, learning Spanish on Babbel, getting into an interactive live discussion on Clubhouse, or understanding how you can market your company on video app Tik Tok, you can easily learn via your phone.
Time management. Make sure you have time for constant learning. We especially love microlearning, which breaks learning down into manageable, retainable, and bite-size tasks to make it easy and quick to learn.
Learn something relevant, or something you love. If you love literacy but hate math, don’t sign up for an advanced vector calculus course. Find things that you either enjoy, pique your interest, or are related to your professional field in order to ensure your learning becomes a continuous habit.
Take advantage of company offerings. If your organization offers training, courses, or any other type of learning option, take advantage of it. It’s most likely free, and will help you grow and transform within your career.
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