How to create a habit of continuous learning for a better you

How to create a habit of continuous learning for a better you

What comes to mind when you see the word learning? Is it history, trigonometry or astrophysics?

Learning doesn’t just mean algebra and equations. Learning can also include cultural exploration, physical learning, mental learning and casual social learning. It can also include developing the skills needed for your hobbies, such as photography, gardening or painting. Maybe you could learn a new cross stitch or learn a new dance move. There are no boundaries when it comes to continuous learning.

Learning is an art and art can be learning – but only if it is done properly.

Did you know that continuous learning can improve brain function, result in better quality sleep, improve confidence and reduce the risk of Alzheimers?

The benefits that can be obtained from continuous learning are countless. Studies have shown that lifelong learning can improve confidence and emotional intelligence, reduce feelings of loneliness and depression, and align your existing knowledge with rapidly advancing technologies.

Why not reap all of the benefits of lifelong learning and start now?

Many of us have heard that it takes 21 days to form a habit in our lifestyle. Unfortunately, a study conducted by Phillippa Lally revealed that the true number is around 66 days, or over 2 months. This does not mean that you should give up. Even though it may take you longer than expected to make lifelong learning a habit, the benefits you could gain from it are worth the extra effort.

To keep you motivated one day at a time, here are some key tips to help you make continuous learning a habit in your life.

  1. Find out what you want to learn

Learning is all about knowing yourself and your strengths and weaknesses. To begin with, you can write a list of around 10 general skills that you wish to possess on Post It notes. Organize them into the ones that you feel that you could be good at very soon and the ones that need improvement. Then you can research the type of activities, topics or subjects which can help you to acquire the skills that you want to develop.

  1. Set your own goals

Setting your own targets is hugely important for individuals who feel like they do not have a lot of control in their lives. It also creates a general sense of accomplishment, satisfaction and purpose in life. Furthermore, becoming your own motivator and being in competition with yourself is extremely useful and can help you in various aspects of your life. Just make sure that you set achievable goals to keep yourself motivated.

It’s easy to plan to read 5 books per day, but how achievable that is another issue. Make sure that you can reasonably complete the tasks that you set for yourself. They don’t have to be large tasks, it might just be to read one article per day on a particular topic or cook 3 new dishes per week. You are more likely to continue with lifelong learning if you succeed in completing your goals. If you fall behind, you may lose motivation.

  1. Add learning into your timetable

It is important to schedule time to relax as well as to learn. When we unwind, blood flow increases around the body, which facilitates concentration and memory. Evidently, we need our mind to be at its best in order to learn in the most effective way. Discern the amount of time that you can reasonably allocate to developing your skills and schedule it into your timetable.

  1. Use multimodal platforms

Using technology in learning can help to keep you interested and engaged with learning. It is also a vital research tool for finding new things that you can add to your skillset whilst allowing faster and more in-depth learning. If you find it difficult to motivate yourself and create your own timetable, online video classes can also help you to begin your journey of lifelong learning. You can use platforms to purchase videos that interest you or participate in live tutoring calls with teachers who have a great deal of knowledge about the subject. This develops your ability to motivate yourself whilst not throwing you in the deep end.

  1. Change, adjust and tailor

If something that you have arranged isn’t working for you, you can change it. This is the beauty of continuous learning. You have moved past teachers forcing you to do your homework. You are in charge of your own learning experience. For example, if you have allocated a task that doesn’t seem to be helping you achieve your goals or is too difficult for you, change the task to something that is more suitable. Make sure that everything that you are doing is useful and helping you to learn.

  1. Remove distractions

Try to complete your tasks in a quiet room free of distractions in order to maximise your concentration. Leave the TV, your phone, your dog and your family members in a separate room. However, remember that if something is not interesting for you to learn and you are getting easily distracted, maybe you should adjust and change the topic to suit you and your needs better.

  1. Surround yourself with other lifelong learners

Friends that also participate in lifelong learning can motivate you, create a strong support system and make learning more enjoyable. You can learn new skills together, play games in order to learn or begin a new project as a group.

Online learning can also help you to form new friendships. If you enrol in a course that features live tutoring calls, you can come into contact with people from a variety of backgrounds, cultures and locations. Therefore, you can acquire new friends and learn more about different cultures as a result. Surrounding yourself with these friends can then encourage you to persist with continuous learning.

To sum up

Now that you have a few tips and suggestions, you can become a better version of yourself and improve your skills with lifelong learning.

Continuous learning has a vast amount of benefits for the mind, the body and mental health. It can also improve your skills, employability and success within your career.

To make it a habit in your everyday life can be difficult, but with the right measures, goals and approach, it is possible and it is worth it.

Start your lifelong journey today, and reap all of the benefits that it can bring.

Author bio: Steven Michaels is the author and content manager for the InfoDepot blog. InfoDepot is a new global learning platform where anyone can teach anything and learn just about everything through educational videos and live calls with teachers.

How to create a habit of continuous learning for a better you

Learning doesn’t just mean algebra and equations. Learning can also include cultural exploration, physical learning, mental learning and casual social learning.

It can also include developing the skills needed for your hobbies, such as photography, gardening or painting. Maybe you could learn a new cross stitch or learn a new dance move.

There are no boundaries when it comes to continuous learning. Learning is an art and art can be learning – but only if it is done properly.

The Benefits Of Continuous Learning

The benefits that can be obtained from continuous learning are countless. Studies have shown that lifelong learning can improve confidence and emotional intelligence, reduce feelings of loneliness and depression, and align your existing knowledge with rapidly advancing technologies.

Why not reap all of the benefits of lifelong learning and start now?

Many of us have heard that it takes 21 days to form a habit in our lifestyle. Unfortunately, a study conducted by Phillippa Lally revealed that the true number is around 66 days, or over 2 months. This does not mean that you should give up.

Even though it may take you longer than expected to make lifelong learning a habit, the benefits you could gain from it are worth the extra effort.

To keep you motivated one day at a time, here are some key tips to help you make continuous learning a habit in your life.

8 Easy Ways To Create A Habit Of Continuous Learning

1. Find out what you want to learn

Learning is all about knowing yourself and your strengths and weaknesses. To begin with, you can write a list of around 10 general skills that you wish to possess on Post It notes.

Organise them into the ones that you feel that you could be good at very soon and the ones that need improvement. Then you can research the type of activities, topics or subjects which can help you to acquire the skills that you want to develop.

2. Set your own goals

Setting your own targets is hugely important for individuals who feel like they do not have a lot of control in their lives. It also creates a general sense of accomplishment, satisfaction and purpose in life.

Furthermore, becoming your own motivator and being in competition with yourself is extremely useful and can help you in various aspects of your life. Just make sure that you set achievable goals to keep yourself motivated.

3. Start small

It’s easy to plan to read 5 books per day, but how achievable that is is another issue. Make sure that you can reasonably complete the tasks that you set for yourself.

They don’t have to be large tasks, it might just be to read one article per day on a particular topic or cook 3 new dishes per week.

You are more likely to continue with lifelong learning if you succeed in completing your goals. If you fall behind, you may lose motivation.

How to create a habit of continuous learning for a better you

4. Add learning into your timetable

It is important to schedule time to relax as well as to learn. When we unwind, blood flow increases around the body, which facilitates concentration and memory.

Evidently, we need our mind to be at its best in order to learn in the most effective way. Discern the amount of time that you can reasonably allocate to developing your skills and schedule it into your timetable.

5. Use multimodal platforms

Using technology in learning can help to keep you interested and engaged with learning. It is also a vital research tool for finding new things that you can add to your skillset whilst allowing faster and more in-depth learning.

If you find it difficult to motivate yourself and create your own timetable, online video classes can also help you to begin your journey of lifelong learning.

You can use platforms to purchase videos that interest you or participate in live tutoring calls with teachers who have a great deal of knowledge about the subject. This develops your ability to motivate yourself whilst not throwing you in the deep end.

6. Change, adjust and tailor

If something that you have arranged isn’t working for you, you can change it. This is the beauty of continuous learning.

You have moved past teachers forcing you to do your homework. You are in charge of your own learning experience.

For example, if you have allocated a task that doesn’t seem to be helping you achieve your goals or is too difficult for you, change the task to something that is more suitable.

Make sure that everything that you are doing is useful and helping you to learn.

How to create a habit of continuous learning for a better you

7. Remove distractions

Try to complete your tasks in a quiet room free of distractions in order to maximise your concentration. Leave the TV, your phone, your dog and your family members in a separate room.

However, remember that if something is not interesting for you to learn and you are getting easily distracted, maybe you should adjust and change the topic to suit you and your needs better.

8. Surround yourself with other lifelong learners

Friends that also participate in lifelong learning can motivate you, create a strong support system and make learning more enjoyable. You can learn new skills together, play games in order to learn or begin a new project as a group.

Online learning can also help you to form new friendships. If you enrol in a course that features live tutoring calls, you can come into contact with people from a variety of backgrounds, cultures and locations.

Therefore, you can acquire new friends and learn more about different cultures as a result. Surrounding yourself with these friends can then encourage you to persist with continuous learning.

To sum up

Now that you have a few tips and suggestions, you can become a better version of yourself and improve your skills with lifelong learning.

Continuous learning has a vast amount of benefits for the mind, the body and mental health. It can also improve your skills, employability and success within your career.

To make it a habit in your everyday life can be difficult, but with the right measures, goals and approach, it is possible and it is worth it.

Start your lifelong journey today, and reap all of the benefits that it can bring.

How to create a habit of continuous learning for a better you

There’s no doubt about it, you are going to need new skills to be successful in the future workplace. According to the World Economic Forum, over half of all workers will need reskilling within the next three years. And, while it may seem like the future is far off, in many ways it’s already here.

Examples of automation and artificial intelligence can already be found in our daily lives. Maybe it’s when Alexa reads the news as you get ready for work or Google Autocomplete assisting with your emails. Perhaps you have interacted with a customer service chatbot.

What does this mean for our careers? According to McKinsey, up to about 45% of the activities individuals are paid to perform could already be automated with today’s technology — these activities represent almost $2 trillion in annual wages. This means you could potentially already be automating your rote tasks, allowing yourself more time to use skills like emotional intelligence, problem-solving, and creative and critical thinking.

How to create a habit of continuous learning for a better you

Becoming a Creature of Habit

What do these numbers mean when applied to your job? It’s likely that the skills you use today are different from those that were required even a year ago. Technology is just one of the drivers of change; add increasing globalization, inter-connectedness, and demographic shifts to the workplace, and these changes will bring with them new skill requirements. To ensure we are equipped for the jobs of the future, we need to become continuous learners, constantly updating our skills and abilities to stay ahead of transformation.

To help make continuous learning a regular part of your day, start by creating a learning habit. When we establish a habit, we make that behavior automatic, which will increase the chances of completing that activity each day. How many times have you set out to exercise more or floss your teeth and failed? Until these activities become habits, it’s hard to consistently adopt a new behavior. The good news is that our lives are full of habits, both good and bad. Our brains like habits because they allow us to conserve energy by using less conscious thought.

Three Steps to Creating a Learning Habit

Researchers estimate that 40-50% of our daily activities are habitual, from brushing our teeth to ordering lunch or having an afternoon snack. Habits can be powerful allies in achieving our goals if we know how to leverage them — and we’re here to teach you how to do just that.

Step 1: Utilize the Habit Loop

Understanding the habit loop is the key to creating a new habit. It starts with a cue, followed by a craving for a reward. This tells your brain to perform the behavior or habit. When you have a reward as part of your habit loop, your brain will begin to crave that activity. To help you better visualize this, think about the process of training a puppy. Offering a treat to a puppy is a guaranteed way to attain his undivided attention. When the puppy sits and consequently receives a treat, he begins to connect the two out of habit. Eventually, the puppy will begin to sit, even when you have no treat to offer (most of the time). This is an example of watching the habit loop in action.

As we establish our learning habit it’s important to give ourselves a reward. This could be as simple as a piece of chocolate or taking a short break to chat with a coworker. How you reward yourself isn’t important, just make sure that you take the time for positive reinforcement, whatever that means to you. Once your habit is well established you’ll no longer need the treat; the learning will become the reward.

Step 2: Identify a Pre-Existing Habit

Another trick is to embed your learning habit in another habitual behavior. For example, maybe you start your day with a cup of coffee while you check your email. Instead of checking email, take 10 minutes to learn. It can be as simple as reading an article — and don’t limit yourself to content that’s work-related. In fact, start by exploring new topics that you enjoy learning about in your personal life, as this will be more enticing initially.

In learning each day, you’ll provide your brain with a positive experience, which will further strengthen your learning habits. You may even find a connection to your work that you hadn’t anticipated. For example, reading fiction increases your empathy, which is an important element of emotional intelligence.

Now, back to that cup of coffee. We all know how strong a coffee habit is; if you make that coffee your trigger, you’re using your existing habit to create a new habit.

Step 3: Build a Habit Tracker

Here’s our last tip for successful habit creation: use a habit tracker. For those of you who are goal-oriented, being able to see your progress is an effective tool and a great way to hold yourself accountable. Here’s a link to one we created for you. And don’t forget to track your learning in Degreed using the Degreed Button. It’s a great way to create a transcript to share with your manager in your next one-on-one or performance review. Demonstrating your initiative for upskilling to a manager can lead to a reward larger than chocolate or coffee!

Want to learn more about habits? Follow the Learning Habit Pathway in Degreed so you can indulge your curiosity and get started developing new learning habits today.

How to create a habit of continuous learning for a better you

You’ll stay relevant and be happier.

Formal education is linked to higher earning and lower unemployment. Beyond that, learning is fun! Engaging in a new topic can be a joy and a confidence booster. But continuous and persistent learning isn’t just a choice – it has to become a habit, no easy task in these busy times. To make learning a lifelong habit, know that developing a learning habit requires you to articulate the outcomes you’d like to achieve. Based on those choices, set realistic goals. With goals in hand, develop a learning community and ditch the distractions. Finally, where appropriate, use technology to supplement learning. Developing specific learning habits –
consciously established and conscientiously cultivated – can be a route to both continued professional relevance and deep personal happiness.

You’ll stay relevant and be happier.

I recently worked my way through Edmund Morris’s first two Teddy Roosevelt biographies, The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt and Theodore Rex. Roosevelt wasn’t without flaws, but he was by nearly all accounts fascinating and intellectually voracious. He published his first book, The Naval War of 1812, at 23 and continued to write on everything from conservation to politics and biography. According to Morris, at certain periods he was rumored to read a book a day, and all this reading and writing arguably made him both charismatic and uniquely equipped to engage the host of topics he did as president: national conservation efforts, naval expansion, trust regulation, and a variety of others.

Roosevelt was what we might call a “lifetime learner.” Learning became, for him, a mode of personal enjoyment and a path to professional success. It’s a habit many of us would like to emulate. The Economist recently argued that with all the disruptions in the modern economy, particularly technology, ongoing skill acquisition is critical to persistent professional relevance. Formal education levels are regularly linked to higher earnings and lower unemployment. And apart from its utility, learning is fun. It’s a joy to engage a new topic. Having an array of interesting topics at your disposal when speaking to colleagues or friends can boost your confidence. And it’s fulfilling to finally understand a difficult new subject.

But this type of continuous and persistent learning isn’t merely a decision. It must become a habit. And as such, it requires careful cultivation.

First, developing a learning habit requires you to articulate the outcomes you’d like to achieve. Would you like to reinvigorate your conversations and intellectual activity by reading a host of new topics? Are you looking to master a specific subject? Would you like to make sure you’re up-to-date on one or two topics outside your day-to-day work? In my own life, I like to maintain a reading program that exposes me to a variety of subjects and genres with the goal of general intellectual exploration, while also digging more deeply into a few areas, including education, foreign policy, and leadership. Picking one or two outcomes will allow you to set achievable goals to make the habit stick.

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Based on those choices, set realistic goals. Like many people, each year, I set a series of goals for myself. These take the form of objectives I’d like to achieve over the course of the year (e.g., read 24 books in 2017) and daily or weekly habits I need to cultivate in accordance with those goals (e.g., read for more than 20 minutes five days per week). For me, long-term goals are tracked in a planner. Daily or weekly habits I monitor via an app called momentum, which allows me to quickly and simply enter completion of my habits on a daily basis and monitor adherence. These goals turn a vague desire to improve learning into a concrete set of actions.

With goals in hand, develop a learning community. I have a bimonthly book group that helps keep me on track for my reading goals and makes achieving them more fun. Similarly, many of my writer friends join writing groups where members read and edit each other’s work. For more specific goals, join an organization focused on the topics you’d like to learn — a foreign policy discussion group that meets monthly or a woodworking group that gathers regularly to trade notes. You might even consider a formal class or degree program to add depth to your exploration of a topic and the type of commitment that is inherently structured. These communities increase commitment and make learning more fun.

To focus on your objectives, ditch the distractions. Learning is fun, but it is also hard work. It’s so extraordinarily well documented as to be almost a truism at this point, but multitasking and particularly technology (e.g., cell phones, email) can make the deep concentration needed for real learning difficult or impossible. Set aside dedicated time for learning and minimize interruptions. When you read, find a quiet place, and leave your phone behind. If you’re taking a class or participating in a reading group, take handwritten notes, which improve retention and understanding, and leave laptops, mobiles devices, and other disrupting technologies in your car or bag far out of reach. And apart from physically eliminating distractions, consider training your mind to deal with them. I’ve found a pleasant impact of regular meditation, for example, has been an improvement in my intellectual focus which has helped my attentiveness in lectures and ability to read difficult books.

Finally, where appropriate, use technology to supplement learning. While technology can be a distraction, it can also be used to dramatically aid a learning regimen. Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) allow remote students to participate in community and learn from some of the world’s most brilliant people with the added commitment of class participation. Podcasts, audiobooks, e-readers, and other tools make it possible to have a book on hand almost any time. I’ve found, for example, that by using audiobooks in what I think of as “ambient moments” — commuting or running, for example — I can nearly double the books I read in a year. Good podcasts or iTunes U courses can similarly deliver learning on the go. Combine these tools with apps that track your habits, and technology can be an essential component of a learning routine.

We’re all born with a natural curiosity. We want to learn. But the demands of work and personal life often diminish our time and will to engage that natural curiosity. Developing specific learning habits — consciously established and conscientiously cultivated — can be a route to both continued professional relevance and deep personal happiness. Maybe Roosevelt had it right: a lifetime of learning can be a success in itself.

How to create a habit of continuous learning for a better you

Employees today expect employers to provide opportunities for continuous education. According to Harvard Business Research, workers across every generation, from boomers to Gen Z, state “becoming an expert in my field” as one of the requirements for employment.

Fortunately, there are endless options to provide learning opportunities. From online MBAs and certifications to weekend bootcamps, employees can often find a format and time frame that works for them.

Ideally, the concept of continuous education should be woven into the fabric of every company, rather than viewed as a benefit, afterthought, or extra activity. This mindset starts at the top of the organization.

Informal training opportunities are just as pervasive as formal programs. According to training and development expert Halelly Azulay, who authored “Employee Development on a Shoestring,” 70% of employee development in organizations happens through informal programs.

When I was leading my first company Information Experts, establishing a culture of continuous learning was a top priority. Given that our mission was to help other organizations achieve their goals and missions through the design and development of exceptional training & development solutions, it would have been hypocritical to not cultivate a culture of continuous learning.

Here are 5 inexpensive yet highly effective strategies we employed to foster a culture of personal and professional development.

  1. Book clubs. To encourage collaboration and communication across the organization, employees launched an internal book club.
  2. Lunch & learns. Our company held a lot of lunch & learns, often around TED Talks or articles one of the employees discovered.
  3. Completions & wins events. This initiative is something that many of my Successful Culture clients have adapted. Our company provided a wide range of services, and was project-centric. This meant that many project teams weren’t aware of what other project teams were doing. They were unaware of the customers we were serving, the problems we were solving, and the solutions we were providing.

Each quarter, we selected a project team to present on a recently completed project. They had full creative license to present however they chose. Not only did this educate the rest of the company on our skill sets and achievements, it empowered the project managers to look for similar opportunities in their own customer environments.
Strategic sharing sessions. Our company had a strategic education policy. When an employee wanted to attend a training program outside the office, they had to complete a continuous education request form.

Part of this form required them to present a business case explaining how the desired training aligned to the company’s overall mission and how it would enhance the employee’s ability to do their job. In addition, they had to agree to schedule a sharing session with the rest of the company so that the knowledge they acquired didn’t reside only with them. This allowed the information to cascade through the company, and benefit everyone.

  • Field trips. Our company also hosted field trips. For example, when we were working with Wegmans, we took the project team on a scheduled field trip to one of their stores to meet with the executives and get a behind-the scenes look at their operations. For companies that work in industries such as hospitality, higher education, or healthcare, field trips provide an extra layer of knowledge that employees can’t get from documents and office meetings.
  • There are many other ways to educate employees on a creative, shoestring budget that will cultivate a culture of continuous learning without stressing an employee’s schedule or the company finances.

    We live in fast-paced digital world where change happens at the blink of an eye. The people who will lead us tomorrow are the ones learning how to cope with change today. They do that not only by embracing change, but by continuously learning new things and keeping up to date with their industry’s latest technology and best practices.

    Today’s leaders from organizations like yours and ours have to answer a critical question: how to create a work environment that provides the space, dialogue and discipline to grow? We all need to find the way to make our teams get away from the daily grind of what needs to get done, and find the time for learning.

    Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

    Create a learning-friendly environment

    Although the benefits of continuous learning are known, many companies and individuals today still don’t invest enough time and resources in expanding their knowledge in their field. Just take a look at the data regarding how many people read at least one book a year. In 2014, almost a quarter of all the Americans interviewed by Pew hadn’t even read one book over the past year.

    On the other hand, a good percent of knowledge workers do take continuous learning seriously and probably read more than 11 books per year. These are the kind of above-average professionals every company would want on their team.

    If you want you team to thrive in a time of change, help them embrace learning as a part of their everyday life. Here are a few ways you can get that started.

    Make room for growth

    Scheduling a training or booking a ticket to a conference is easy. Creating a culture of continuous learning is hard work.

    Keep it simple at first, by making room in everyone’s schedule. You can try booking a couple of hours every week. As they say, repetition is the mother of learning and the father of action, especially when it comes to building a habit of learning.

    Understand how adults learn best

    Studies confirm that, compared to children, adults have a different way of learning new things.

    Drawn from the work of Malcolm Knowles, Stephen D. Brookfield, and others, here are the core principles of adult learning, along with implications and suggestions for the teaching environment:

    1. New pieces of information that adults acquire need to be related to previously learned knowledge and experiences.
    2. Adults tend to prefer self-directed, autonomous learning.
    3. For adults, their experience, knowledge, and ideas need to be acknowledged as important.
    4. Adults want practical, goal-oriented, and problem-centered learning that can immediately help them solve work-related or personal problems.
    5. They need feedback on the progress they are making.
    6. Some adults prefer learning by doing, others prefer learning by observing, while others learn best by listening.
    7. Collaboration and sharing are the best ways for adults to learn.
    8. Adults are motivated to learn by a wide variety of factors, from personal aspirations, externally imposed expectations, to growth and professional advancement, and service to others.

    This set of principles can help you create the basis of a learning system designed for adults. Here are a few ways we incorporate continuous learning at Hubgets. Hope they can serve you as inspiration for building your own unique system.

    Three ways to incorporate learning at work

    Instant knowledge-sharing

    As principle #7 highlights, adults learn best through collaboration and knowledge sharing.

    Here at Hubgets, we values this principle a lot, and our advanced instant communication and collaboration platform stands proof.

    Grow your startup faster with better team communication!

    We use Hubgets for everything, from team communication to one-to-one messages, group chats, file and screen sharing, voice and video calls. This helps the knowledge flow, keeping everyone on the same page.

    Mentorship

    Every year, we welcome young professionals for a summer internship program that’s meant to help them learn more than the basics of software engineering. This year we successfully onboarded 14 interns spread across our Frontend, Backend, SQA, and Infrastructure teams.

    To ensure the success of the program, the team leaders also act as mentors for our interns, teaching them everything they need to know about Hubgets, the tools we use, and how things are done in our team. This process happens continuously, through on-going training, group discussions, and one-to-one mentoring.

    Office library

    There are many self-taught tech entrepreneurs out there. The most famous one is probably Elon Musk who allegedly learned how to build rockets from books. Space ships aside, he is definitely an avid reader and that helped him a lot throughout his career. Although this learning model might not fit everyone, you might be surprised to find a few independent learners in your team.

    For those team members who prefer autonomous learning, you could create a virtual library of useful books and hold a weekly meeting to review some of the things they learned. We have such a library here at Hubgets, and our team can either read the books online or use one of the company’s Kindle devices available for this purpose.

    Because for some people (and I fall in that category) there is nothing better than a good book and a cup of tea on a rainy autumn day 😉

    How do you find these ideas? Do you think you could use them to get started on building a continuous learning culture in your own organization? Let me know by leaving a comment below.

    December 2, 2020 | By Asha Pandey

    How to create a habit of continuous learning for a better you

    Organizations with a culture of learning have a huge advantage. Take a look at how Microlearning can be leveraged to build learning habits and foster a culture of continuous learning in the remote workplace.

    The Importance of Continuous Learning in the Workplace

    Studies show that a culture of continuous learning in the workplace creates huge advantages for organizations. Top firms seek employees who know how to learn, ask important questions, and understand how to find answers to those questions. They recognize that employees with a habit of learning are more creative, innovative, and engaged. These organizations can recruit, retain, and develop talent – significantly better than others who do not have this focus.

    To accomplish this, organizations need to create learning and performance ecosystems. The ecosystems help build employee learning habits, driving continuous learning in the workplace. In this journey, the concept of microlearning can act as the catalyst.

    Why Are Organizations Finding It Difficult to Drive Continuous Learning in the Workplace?

    The new normal includes challenges not faced by most employees in the past. Combining the need to work remotely and stay current on recent best practices overwhelms them. It’s common to hear employees complain by saying “I don’t have time for this training.”

    Time becomes more of a problem when what learners “need” is different from what L&D teams “provide.” Consider traditional employee compliance training – page-turner eLearning courses that require a certain amount of time to be spent on each page, even though learners may already understand the concept. This is highly demotivating for learners and conditions them to react poorly to such content.

    Organizational leadership must lead as an example and should work to model the desired learning habits. Employees will seek to mimic their behavior, especially as leaders share what they’ve learned and promote microlearning content. As they seek to follow the example of leaders, they’ll develop learning habits that drive continuous learning in the workplace.

    Why Is Microlearning a Great Fit for Driving Continuous Learning in the Workplace?

    Within this environment, microlearning can be used in either formal or informal situations.

    Microlearning can be used for formal learning – designed in consumable bites to act as natural fillers for busy employees. Courses that include, and begin with, clear explanations of how employees will benefit from training immediately engage learner attention. This is the “What’s In It For Me” (WIIFM) phenomenon. Employees are more engaged when they clearly understand why they need the training.

    Microlearning can also be leveraged to drive informal learning – within a performance support system environment as just-in-time (JIT) learning or more social learning environments where learners curate and share. These systems benefit employees because they have the exact information needed when they need it. Organizations that leverage tools such as Yammer so that employees can share what they’re learning build learning habits that drive continuous learning.

    Microlearning also reinforces previously learned information, creating space for practice and remediation. Ongoing microlearning opportunities modify employee habits and challenge bad behavior, replacing it with desired behavior.

    How Can You Leverage Microlearning to Drive Continuous Learning in the Workplace?

    The following tips will help you drive continuous learning in the workplace.

    Step 1 – Build a habit of learning in employees by:

    1. Always beginning with the What’s In It For Me (WIIFM) to motivate the learners.
    2. Providing support for learning habits – Through assistance like a performance support system that includes a searchable knowledge base or a forum moderated by SMEs.
    3. Modifying employee routines – Designate certain times of the day or week for learning. Incorporate ongoing learning cycles that include microlearning courses with quick rewards.
    4. Getting learners to respond by making the learning frictionless. Even great courses are ignored if it’s difficult to find them, log in, and engage with the content.
    5. Rewarding the learners once they finish the learning with gamified points or digital badges.

    Step 2 – Drive continuous learning in the workplace with microlearning and develop learning habits:

    1. Poll employees to find out what learning they need and want, and then build according to those needs to foster learning habits.
    2. Ensure that the learning can be consumed when employees need it. Learning that’s accessible on mobile devices is consumable anytime, during breaks, between tasks, and will nudge learning habits.
    3. Allow employees to select and personalize their learning.
    4. Leverage short learning nuggets (under three minutes). Employees can scrub timelines to find what they need without needless extraneous content.
    5. Leverage short Virtual Instructor-Led Training (VILT) sessions.
    6. Provide room for focused flipped classroom sessions.
    7. Use strategic assessments to gauge the effectiveness of the

    In the new normal, employees are struggling to find time to learn. Organizations can leverage microlearning to not only modify learning habits but also drive continuous learning in the workplace.

    Want to learn how you can use microlearning to promote learning in the flow of work?

    Take a look at this Infographic where we share our top 3 strategies that will help you improve your training by driving learning in the flow of work.

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    • Team Building

    Anyone who’s ever run a business knows that contentment with the status quo is an invitation to disaster. Human beings may not always like change, but they need it. Stagnation is not just boring, it’s dangerous.

    The same is true of your company. To perform optimally, a business must grow and evolve—meaning that your employees must grow and evolve as well.

    If your team is to be truly ready to respond to the ever-changing needs of your customers and the ever-changing conditions of the market, then your organization must cultivate a culture of continuous learning. This article shows you how.

    Call in the Pros

    Continuous learning in a business environment isn’t just a nice idea, it’s a necessity, and more and more entrepreneurs and decision-makers are realizing it—especially in our current environment.

    Hiring a chief learning officer (CLO), whether as a part-time consultant or a full-time staff member, is an ideal way to begin building a culture of continuous learning in your company. Not only do CLOs typically have extensive industry experience in their own right, they also combine their professional experience with advanced education in training and development, many of them holding master’s or doctoral degrees in this field.

    Tailor Your Training

    Studies show that, across industries, the average cost of learning and development is around $1,200 per employee, while the tangible return on investment is difficult to quantify with certainty. That can seem like a risky investment in a very challenging business climate, especially when you can’t really predict the tangible financial returns on your investment.

    But the intangible returns can be profound. For example, Gallup found that nearly 90% of millennials want the opportunity to learn and grow in their jobs; they consider continuous development to be an important prerequisite for joining, or remaining with, a company.

    An important strategy for developing a culture of continuous learning is to help each employee understand their particular core strengths as well as the various types of intelligences that shape their work and propel them to excellence. Tailoring your training strategy to your employees’ specific intelligence(s) can not only increase performance but can also be an incredible motivator as they discover, develop, and deploy their unique strengths.

    1. Language Intelligence:

    If you have an employee who has a way with words, you might encourage them to enroll in marketing, PR, or business-writing courses. As your employee’s language and writing skills grow, you may find you have a built-in, go-to person for important communications, from client correspondence to promotional copywriting to social-media management.

    2. Mathematical and Logical Intelligence

    If you have someone who has a knack for fixing the company’s computers or hardware, why not capitalize on that natural talent?

    Encourage them to pursue training in programming, cyber security, or some other IT field. Not only will this offer them a fantastic development opportunity, it will also be a tremendous asset for your workforce as a whole. In an increasingly digitized business environment, if you have people who can manage the tech, your workflow is going to be smoother and more efficient all around.

    3. Visual and Spatial Intelligence

    Do you have an employee with an impressive sense of style or visual flair? Maybe they’re always doodling, or they’ve filled their homes with works of art they painted themselves.How to create a habit of continuous learning for a better you

    Training in creative fields like graphic design is perfect for these types of employees. Personnel with highly developed visual intelligence can readily learn how to create striking images by hand or through computer-aided design.

    What that means is that you may never again have to outsource the design of a stunning company website, visually appealing social-media pages, or eye-catching promotional materials.

    4. Interpersonal and Intrapersonal Intelligences

    Creating an effective training strategy that is customized for each employee isn’t just about developing hard skills. You probably have staff members who are simply exceptional with people.

    These talents, too, can be cultivated. You might encourage these staff members to take courses in counseling, mediation, or organizational psychology. They can then become an extraordinary resource for managing productivity, driving motivation, and conducting effective performance reviews.

    Show Your Commitment

    Providing customized training and development opportunities will telegraph to your employees the company’s long-term investment in them and will likely inspire a sense of loyalty in return. And if you tie their development to tangible rewards, such as bonuses and higher compensation for every certificate earned or every course successfully completed, employees may have additional motivation to enhance their professional skills.

    The Takeaway

    Entering the workforce doesn’t mean we leave school behind. Learning should be a lifelong endeavor, and cultivating an environment of continuous learning is essential. Encouraging, and even requiring, your employees to keep developing new skills and continuously grow their knowledge and abilities will not only improve team performance, it will also help them be more motivated, more engaged, and more fulfilled.

    Guest Post Written by Adrian Johansen. CMOE guest authors are carefully selected industry experts, researchers, writers, and editors with extensive experience and a deep passion for leadership development, human capital performance, and other specialty areas. Each guest author is uniquely selected for the topic or skills areas they are focused on. All posts are peer-reviewed by CMOE.

    • Compliance
    • Content Development
    • Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
    • eLearning
    • IT and Technical Training
    • Leadership
    • Learning Technologies
    • Measurement and Analytics
    • Onboarding
    • Outsourcing
    • Performance Management
    • Professional Development
    • Remote Learning
    • Sales
    • Strategy, Alignment and Planning
    • Workforce Development

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    How to create a habit of continuous learning for a better you

    Organizations with a culture of learning have a huge advantage. Let’s take a look at how you can leverage microlearning to build learning habits and foster a culture of continuous learning in the remote workplace.

    The Importance of Continuous Learning in the Workplace

    Studies show that a culture of continuous learning in the workplace creates many benefits for organizations. Top firms seek employees who know how to learn, ask important questions and understand how to find answers to those questions. They recognize that employees with a habit of learning are more creative, innovative and engaged. These organizations can recruit, retain and develop talent better than organizations that do not have this type of culture.

    To create a culture of learning, organizations must create learning and performance ecosystems. These ecosystems help build employee learning habits and driving continuous learning in the workplace. In this journey, microlearning can act as a catalyst.

    Why Are Organizations Finding It Difficult to Drive Continuous Learning in the Remote Workplace?

    The current workforce faces challenges that most employees have not previously faced. Working remotely and staying current on best practices can be overwhelming, and it’s common to hear employees say, “I don’t have time for this training.”

    Time becomes even more of a challenge when what learners need is different from what learning and development (L&D) teams provide. Consider traditional employee compliance training — eLearning courses that require employees to spend a certain amount of time to be spent on each slide, even though learners may already understand the concept. This approach is demotivating for learners and conditions them to react poorly to training.

    Organizational leaders must lead as an example and model the desired learning habits. Employees will mimic their behavior, especially as leaders share what they’ve learned and promote training. As they seek to follow the example of leaders, employees will develop habits that drive continuous learning in the workplace.

    Why Is Microlearning a Great Fit for Driving Continuous Learning in the Workplace?

    Within this environment, organizations can use microlearning in formal and informal learning.

    Microlearning in Formal Learning

    Microlearning is designed in consumable bites that act as natural fillers for busy employees. Courses that begin with clear explanations of how employees will benefit from training (the “what’s in it for me,” or WIIFM) are immediately engaging. Employees are more engaged when they clearly understand why they need the training.

    Microlearning in Informal Learning

    Microlearning can occur within a performance support system environment as just-in-time (JIT) learning or social learning environments, where learners curate and share content. These systems benefit employees by giving them the information they need when they need it. Organizations that leverage social learning and networking tools enable employees to share what they’re learning, building habits that drive continuous learning.

    Microlearning also reinforces previously learned information, creating space for practice and remediation. Ongoing microlearning opportunities modify employee habits, challenge inaccurate behaviors and replace them with desired behaviors.

    How Can You Leverage Microlearning to Drive Continuous Learning in the Workplace?

    The following tips will help you drive continuous learning in the workplace using microlearning.

    Step 1. Help Employees Build a Habit of Learning

      • Always begin with the WIIFM to motivate the learners.
      • Provide support for learning habits — for example, through a performance support system that includes a searchable knowledge base or a forum moderated by subject matter experts (SMEs).
      • Modify employee routines by designating certain times of the day or week for learning and incorporate ongoing learning cycles that include microlearning courses with immediate rewards.
      • Make learning frictionless. Employees ignore even great courses if it’s difficult to find them, log in and engage with the content.
      • Reward learners with points or digital badges when they complete a course.

    Step 2. Drive Continuous Learning With Microlearning

      • Poll employees to find out what learning they need and want. Then, build microlearning content according to those needs.
      • Ensure that employees can consume content when they need it. Learning that’s accessible on mobile devices is consumable anytime — including during breaks or between tasks — and helps build learning habits.
      • Allow employees to select and personalize their learning.
      • Leverage content that takes less than three minutes to consume so that employees can find the information they need without weeding through extraneous content.
      • Leverage short virtual instructor-led training (VILT) sessions.
      • Provide room for focused flipped classroom sessions.
      • Use strategic assessments to gauge the effectiveness of the training.

    Employees are struggling to find time to learn. Their organizations can leverage microlearning to not only modify learning habits but also drive continuous learning in the workplace.

    Want to learn how you can use microlearning to promote learning in the flow of work? Take a look at this infographic, which shares three strategies that will help you improve your training by driving learning in the flow of work.