Does your deadline-filled workweek leave you with the time and energy to learn something new? The need to do so has never been more urgent or essential. Firstly, the COVID-19 pandemic exposed the faultlines of our workforce and the industry in the form of a widening skills gap. Secondly, the fast-paced technological environment has necessitated upskilling as older work processes become more automated. The way to combat both these concerns is through fuelling the desire to learn something new. This blog explores why lifelong learning is fast becoming a crucial skill of the future corporate world.
5 Proven Strategies for Effective Learning
To learn something new, you need to have an organic interest in the subject matter, the ability to relate lessons to one’s own thoughts and experiences, and the cognitive ability to build connections and retain information. Therefore, strategies for effective professional learning must combine the following elements:
1. Interleaving Within a Definite Narrative
Interleaving refers to jumbling up ideas and allowing learners to switch between topics, albeit within a definite narrative. All cultures use stories to teach life lessons to children. Moreover, stories are a powerful tool for retention among adults too. When guided by a concrete narrative of action, it helps mature learners and professionals by:
- Giving their thoughts a structure to follow
- Connecting seemingly disparate ideas within a domain
- Connecting real-world scenarios with theoretical knowledge
An example of interleaving would be establishing a strong design thinking framework. Here learners need to connect all the facets of user experience and user design, effectively teaching them to apply the theories in a real-life context.
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2. Relevance and Concrete Examples
Concrete examples are easier to understand and retain than abstract concepts. This is particularly true for adult learners and professionals who may not always have the headspace to accommodate different theoretical perspectives of an idea. Furthermore, teaching with examples creates connections between different elements of a lesson and prevents sensory overload. Additionally, multiple examples around the same idea help learners build explicit connections between abstract concepts and their corresponding practical knowledge.
For instance, connecting green economies (an abstract concept) with global warming (a real-world scenario) will facilitate teaching sustainable business practices (a theoretical approach) to mature learners.
3. Focusing on Life Experiences
When we learn something new, we assimilate new information within the context of existing knowledge. Professional learning success requires incorporating the varied life experiences of learners to find creative ways of solving practical problems. It increases learning efficiency in the following ways:
- Honing the ability for adaptive management by understanding the value of each experience and how to utilize them
- Improving learners’ self-esteem and renewed engagement with a subject
This is why most learners are comfortable when educators use established reference frameworks that are instantly relatable.
4. Dual Coding
Dual coding involves teaching or understanding the same point from two or more perspectives. It generates a sense of self-awareness and teaches learners the importance of multidisciplinary thinking. For instance, the problem of environmental degradation has two aspects: rules of governance and individual responsibilities. While the former falls under political studies, the latter is about ethics. Dual coding establishes a single plane of reference to look at these different perspectives together and formulate an opinion.
Answering and discussing the hows and whys behind any phenomenon is one of the most effective strategies to learn something new. Elaboration in groups increases the efficiency of this learning. The benefits of elaboration are:
- Improves communication skills
- Helps reach the bottom of issues and generates rationally-informed conclusions—a crucial business skill
- Articulation of thoughts brings clarity to concepts
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The Benefits of Lifelong Learning
Fill the Skills Divide
The pandemic revealed that up to 60% of adults lack the skills required to navigate the online world of resources. Lifelong learning arms you with a steady stream of knowledge that boosts innovation and creativity.
To learn something new also means developing humility and looking at the world with curiosity. It breeds open-mindedness, easing individuals’ ability to accommodate different perspectives about diverse real-world phenomena.
Constant Upskilling is the Future
A Gartner report claims that 58% of the workforce will need new skills to do their jobs successfully in the coming years. Therefore, upskilling initiatives will future-proof your career and enable a host of opportunities to come your way.
The Learner Mindset
A 2021 LinkedIn report mentions the critical importance of the learner mindset as a key strategy for the future of work. The learner mindset takes the idea of a growth mindset to the next level—it considers every opportunity as a potential learning experience. Therefore, this makes individuals highly accepting of negative results and failures. Moreover, it helps develop the quality of learning as an intrinsic aspect of their personality.
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To conclude, organizations across industries are recognizing the need for continuous learning. This is evident in the booming 8.9% CAGR in the corporate learning industry, which is projected to scale to a whopping $500 billion by 2028. You can start your lifelong journey to learn something new by opting for these online courses from Emeritus. Upskill, reskill, and stay relevant in a changing world.
By Bishwadeep Mitra