If the last two years have shown us anything, it’s that we need to be continuously learning to stay relevant in our home and work lives. Technology and ways of working are changing rapidly and anyone who thinks they “know it all” will soon find themselves left behind.
“Once you stop learning, you start dying.”
Let’s look at what continuous learning is, how we can do it best and where to focus.
Continuous learning keeps you agile, focused and driven. It allows you to overcome challenges and see growth in your skills. On-the-job learning from a more senior team member, completing an online course and joining specific groups on community platforms are all examples of continuous learning. It is the process of learning new skills and gaining knowledge on an on-going basis.
Embracing continuous learning allows your career to become your education where you are constantly seeking to improve and grow through the challenges you face in a constantly changing work environment.
Here are some benefits of embracing continuous learning as an individual:
- Become a top performer – new skills and knowledge can increase your personal performance
- Shift your career – achieve additional goals in your chosen career path or rotate into a new position
- Personal enrichment – learn more about your hobbies or interests; you never know when they can open a door to a new opportunity
- Stay relevant – being up-to-date with the latest developments, trends and advances allows you to stay marketable and in demand
According to the Skills Portal there are 11 important skills people should be learning in 2022 to stay relevant into the future. These are:
- Artificial intelligence
- UX design
- Critical thinking
- Data skills
- Sales and marketing
These skills highlight the impact that automation and robotics will have on the nature of work moving forward. But how exactly do you choose where and what to study?
In South Africa you are lucky to have a few different options. You can study for an accredited qualification or enroll in a short learning programme that’s unaccredited. Accredited qualifications come in different shapes and sizes. They can be anything from a 12-week skills programme to a three-year degree. Completing an accredited qualification can be a big commitment both financially and in terms of the time you need to dedicate to completing it.
Unaccredited short programmes offer a solution especially designed to improve or refresh knowledge and skills in a particular field over a short period of time. As short courses are not accredited, quality can be a concern, so make sure you enroll with reputable institutions. An institution that offers both accredited and non-accredited programmes is required to follow a quality assurance process for all the programmes on offer. This would result in the non-accredited short learning programmes being held to a higher standard than an institution without a rigorous quality assurance process.
Before you decide on how you will develop your skills, ask yourself the following four questions:
- How is this skill going to help you progress in your career?
- What is required by organisations for a career in that area (e.g. a qualification or short learning programme)?
- How do you prefer to learn (self-paced, on your own, in groups, online or in-person)?
- What institution is best suited to help you achieve your goals?
Once you’ve answered these questions, you will be well on your way to finding the course that can help you progress in your career.
How to Be a Continuous Learner and Why It’s Important, Lisa Assetta, August 2021, https://www.asaporg.com/how-to-be-a-continuous-learner-and-why-it-s-important
Why and How to Create a Continuous Learning Culture, Reanna Mardinger, https://www.docebo.com/learning-network/blog/create-continuous-learning-culture/
Continuous Learning, Valamis, March 2019, https://www.valamis.com/hub/continuous-learning
Skills To Learn In 2022 To Stay Relevant And Future Proof Yourself, Terrique Faro, November 2021, https://www.skillsportal.co.za/content/skills-learn-2022-stay-relevant-and-future-proof-yourself
Is A Short Course A Qualification?, Terrique Faro, November 2021, https://www.skillsportal.co.za/content/short-course-qualification