On a personal level, continuous learning is about the constant expansion of skills and skill-sets through learning and increasing knowledge. As life changes the need to adapt both professionally and personally is as real as the changes themselves.
On a professional level, continuous learning is about further expanding our skill-set in response to a changing environment and new developments. This is very important because we are called to respond to changes daily: for example, the introduction of computers in the workplace created a need for people to train on computers to complete tasks more efficiently.
On a personal level, the introduction of computers made us rethink how we communicate with people and allowed us to keep in touch with people across the globe with just the click of a button.
Continuous learning for Individuals and Groups
On an individual level, continuous learning is defined by the practices the individual carries out daily in order to continue increasing knowledge. For example:
- Asking for help when something is not understood
- Observing more experienced employees at work
- Trying new ways of doing things and exploring alternative methods
- Practicing what has been learned already
- Finding ways to improve such as taking up training programs or online seminars outside of work
In the organization, continuous learning has to do with shaping a team to adapt to changes in the business environment. This is very important because the ever-changing economic climate demands that any team be up to date with the latest knowledge and also be flexible and easily adaptable to any changes that may be required.
Business Sustainability and Continuous Learning
Embracing a culture of “investing in people” has played a major role in companies training their employees rather than hiring new people which can be much more costly on different levels. Most companies nowadays want to invest in retaining their talent – and developing that pool of talent – so they keep employees well trained and up-to-date so that they can respond to the company’s ever-changing needs. This also develops a sense of trust and keeps employees engaged and interested since new skills are constantly added to their ‘arsenal’. Apart from saving money, continuous learning is a means for a company to show its employees they are worth investing in.
Social Learning and Continuous Learning
Social learning and continuous learning are inextricably linked. Individual Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn news feeds and work-related groups play a major role in what we learn and how we communicate and share knowledge. Inevitably, spending all day between social media and work-related material exposes us to learning new things. For example a Wall Street trader or anyone working in finance has to keep up to date with new trends, movements in the market and changes in the environment that may affect his portfolio. A way to keep “learning” without using a separate learning platform is to be exposed to the social web with its constant stream of news and trends. Our trader, for example, may like to take part in Finance and Markets groups on LinkedIn in order to stay up to date with the latest information and be informed by his peers on what to pay attention to. This may contribute to Constant Learning.