et’s zero in on the (lifelong) learners

11 february 2019

This first HRbuilders hand-picked article shares seven trends on learning & development that provide a good indication on where training is heading to and that HR professionals should pay attention to. Here are three of them, you can read the entire article via this link

1. Develop competencies for future organizational goals

It is key for management to support employees who can take over future leadership roles by offering them training on leadership development, communication and problem-solving skills and by providing mentors that can help them build professional networks.

2. And emphasize communication skills!

Soft skills can foster employee retention, improve leadership and build a meaningful culture. 

However, the soft skills gap is widening with the technologically savvy but soft-skill-poor employees entering the workforce. HR and Learning & development could overcome this challenge by offering soft skills training to employees and encouraging them to refine their social skills. 

3. Increase the gamification of training

Gamification is not about turning your training program into a Donkey Kong video game. 

Gamification is simply a process of building a progressive reward system into training that imitates modern video games. Badges, points, leaderboards and community involvement incentivize the online training experience for even the most jaded learner. 

This week’s second article  zooms in on how HR could and should facilitate a learning mindset within the organisation and cultivate a passion for knowledge that will lead to employee development.

Learning needs to evolve with the new and emerging technologies that employees engage with in their personal lives and this applies for every worker in today’s digital workplace, not just for ‘millennials’. 

So, what are the top considerations for HR and L&D leaders when selecting training and training programmes for employees and how do they approach lifelong learning? We selected these 6 key take aways if you don’t have enough time to read the entire article:

#1 It is key that the trainer fully understands the company culture and ecosystem to make sure that the training program meets the need of the employees. It’s highly recommended to mobilise internal trainers because the best trainers could already be among the employees and they already understand the unique culture.

#2 Top considerations when selecting training programmes are applicability, alignment with strategy and culture & values, engaging and inspiring for employees and relevance.

#3 The best way to approach learning is to start with good strategic workforce planning and make sure the growth strategy is translated into the L&D plan, this means you have to translate the next three to five years of strategy into a future state and tangible outcomes – what does it mean for our workforce, its development/capability, structure, set-up, culture and more and then translating that back into the here and now: what are the current supply/demands on our workforce and what will we need to grow over the next (few) years. Look at that year by year in order to get to the workforce that is needed to sustain growth and deliver the strategy.

#4 Why not implement a series of fireside chats where industry experts are invited to share insights on topics and trends especially on developments in the industry as well as the global technology scene. 

#5 It’s also key to encourage employees to take an active role in managing their careers by continuously rolling out new career and learning development programmes to help them acquire forward compatible skills. 

#6 Oftentimes, when it comes to continuing education and lifelong learning, the key target population are mid to junior-level employees. Organisations tend to forget that the senior leadership team are the very ones that are impacting other employees at every level of the organisation, as well as its future leaders. If they are not constantly evolving and keeping ahead of the curve, they will not be able to impart that same knowledge and attitude towards learning to other employees as well. With that in mind, one of the companies that shared their best & next practices in this article introduced an advisory board, a round-table with invitees from all backgrounds – ranging from politics, economics, art and business – who come together to discuss key geopolitical and economic issues that are currently trending and making a global impact. The senior leadership team is invited to attend this round-table to gain an understanding from key leaders in the respective fields.

Developing an attitude where you constantly learn is the only way to succeed in the dynamic environment which we live in today. 

So it’s not just up to the company you’re currently working for, it’s just as much up to you! 

There are countless ways you can become a lifelong learner, such as these 10:

1. Read widely and often

2. Get in touch and keep in touch with people you can learn from

3. Teach others

4. Keep a list of things you want to explore

5. Start your own project 

6. Use a personal learning environment

7. Experiment with new ways to learn

8. Join a study group

9. Find a job that encourages learning and collaboration

10. Make learning a priority

Read the entire article.

Now if it has been a while since you left college, you may have lost the habit of learning new things all the time or even developed bad habits that inhibit learning. So how do you develop the skills to become a better lifelong learner? Well it's like getting better at anything really. You've got to make a point to actually do the work. 

If a key to success is lifelong learning, then you'll want to embrace that. 

And once you embraced it, the key is to get better and more effective at it, here’s how you can do that: 

You need to keeping the commitment 

Improving yourself takes dedication, discipline and focus, often at times when you lack them the most. It’s about working smarter, not harder.

You need to schedule it in

Because we llove rituals. And we all have them; there's something reassuring about the familiar. And learning benefits from the same thing. When you take time to schedule something, it builds anticipation. So, set aside some time and space each day to learn, and try to keep it the same every day.

You need to organize your learning

It is key to plan a method for storing your learning materials, notes, study aids, and more. Take advantage of technology that uses the cloud to keep your data up-to-date and ready for use wherever you may find yourself. 

Repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat

Repetition helps transfer knowledge from short-term to long-term memory. Practice and review will help you master a subject, however - as already mentioned - it’s about working smarter, not harder, 

You need to stop multi-tasking 

Multi-tasking and information overloads kill effective learning. The human brain possesses amazing computing abilities, but, like all processors, it can only do so much.

Learning involves your entire body

Learning involves your entire body, even when you simply sit to learn. How you sit, what you eat, and how much you sleep all affect your ability to learn.

Exercise improves healthy blood flow, which helps the brain work effectively. An unhealthy diet draws away resources to deal with the unhealthy results of poor eating. Do not sacrifice your sleep. 

You should avoid stress

While many people swear by their all-night cramming sessions before a big test, science argues differently. Increased stress reduces the body's ability to function. As stress increases, the body releases hormones and neurotransmitters to heighten ability to react to danger, triggering a fear response while the brain increases alertness and anxious feelings. This creates an environment in which a person simply can't focus or work, let alone learn.

Living and learning mean just that. Don't create an environment in which you feel too much pressure to do either. Keep life more simple and relaxed and learning will follow. This way, the success you're after will happen more naturally.

Read the entire article.

What we can learn from kids…

And to end, we would like to share with you some amazing ted talks on lifelong learning. We especially love the one with Adora Svitak (Ted talk - 2010). Child prodigy Adora Svitak says the world needs "childish" thinking: bold ideas, wild creativity and especially optimism. Kids' big dreams deserve high expectations, she says, starting with grownups' willingness to learn from children as much as to teach. 

Enjoy and don’t forget to #DreamBigger 

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