Continuous Learning in the Digital Age

ipad with educational diagram

The Prosperous Management team have long been advocates of Continuous Learning – both for ourselves & our clients. In addition to keeping abreast of industry changes & up-skilling, we highlight the importance of this mindset to those with whom we consult.  We pride ourselves on having created & maintaining a culture of continuous learning. This environment we’ve nourished based on a willingness to embrace change, facilitates this cultural shift – which is not only a prerequisite to growth but also to us consulting with a potential client. As consultants to clients from varying industries, we are continuously exposed to learning opportunities by dint of the different projects we work on.

Learning & Development in the Digital Age

The modern phenomenon of the ”always-on” employee is generating new opportunities for learning and development (L&D), and organizations which are not primed to react accordingly risk becoming obsolete. Digitization has not only altered the way we work & communicate, but also how we learn. In the connected world, it behooves employers to leverage their employees’ network and experiences, if they are committed to fostering a culture of learning – which is vital to remaining competitive. Cloud, social and mobile technology now offer so many learning opportunities, that focused investment ought to be a L&D priority for businesses.

The Modern Learning Experience

Learning is becoming more byte sized and integrated into the work-space, and it is the agile organisations who embrace this change who will gain competitive advantage. Ease of use and access to engaging and relevant content are the hallmarks of the digital learning experience. As such, firms with a lack of informal learning opportunities inhibit the creation of a culture where learning is celebrated. Although informal learning opportunities and experiential learning are  perfectly suited to social and mobile platforms, many businesses are failing to utilize the full potential of these media effectively for L&D opportunities. Rather, they are dipping their toes in by limiting their activities to document sharing, discussion forums and blogs. Through such timidity, they are missing out on the enormous potential of social tools to leverage video. Likewise, microblogs stimulate peer-to-peer communication, which encourages employees to share information and learn from one another. Additionally, such informal channels facilitate team bonding and creative thinking.

Agility and Adaptation

Agility, in terms of adapting personally and professionally, is a requirement for success. This is especially true, with regard to shaping a team to adapt to the ever changing business environment. This is an unavoidable consequence of the current economic climate and any team lacking the flexibility to adapt or the will to keep up to date with the latest industry knowledge is doomed.

Investing in People

Establishing a culture of investing in people plays a vital role for companies which wish to focus on training current employees rather than incurring the costs associated with hiring new staff. It is more prudent to invest in retaining and developing a talent pool, which is precisely why fostering a continuous learning environment is so important, not just from an economic standpoint. Ensuring that employees are well trained & up to date empowers them to respond to the company’s changing needs. Such measures imbue employees with a sense of trust and keep them engaged with, interested in and loyal to the company, since their skills-set is continually being expanded. So, as well as being more economical, continuous learning is a means for companies to reassure their employees that they merit investment.

Social Learning

Social learning and continuous learning are inextricably linked. Personal Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn feeds combine with posts in professional groups and forums to influence the way we learn, communicate and share knowledge. The stream of news and trends which characterizes this social web, is a means for people to continually learn without recourse to separate learning platforms.

Learning Programmes

Research bears out the need for and benefits of learning programmes. For example, Bersin by Deloitte’s research, reveals three times greater profit growth over a four-year period in companies that are high-impact learning organizations (HILOs). These HILOs have learning programs that are efficient, effective, and aligned to the top priorities of the business. It is essential before commencing with a learning programme to know what your business needs from such an endeavour. Identifying what needs to be measured to know if your learning program is yielding the results you want and expect is a vital first step. Once a clear purpose and expectations have been established, a culture of continuous learning and development can begin to be shaped. It is advisable to include a mix of formal, informal, and on-the-job development opportunities. Also, basic training courses to acquaint staff with software and tools are recommended. It’s more beneficial for individuals and organizations to provide learning opportunities and content that is specific to competencies that participants wish to develop.

To learn more about the culture of continuous learning at Prosperous Management or to find out how our experienced consultants can help you to develop and hone such an environment in your business, contact us today.