Lifelong learning: The benefits and the how-to

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A schoolteacher of mine used to say, “Give a man a fish, feed him for a day.  Teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime.”  Isn’t that so true?  Doesn’t learning ultimately always benefit over having someone do it for you?  Of course it does!  Why?

  1. Learning helps us understand.
  2. Learning keeps us sharp.
  3. Learning makes us an asset at work.
  4. Learning keeps us young and up to date on our ever-changing world.
  5. Learning builds credibility.
  6. Learning makes us enjoyable to work with.

An article in Government Technology outlined five ways to keep learning.    With so many options for learning—online, webinars, seminars, in a classroom, community programs, conferences, professional organizations, social media—there are ways for just about any one to expand their learning opportunities, but here are few suggestions:

1. Take a day — Encourage workers to attend online training or go to local events.

2. Culture of sharing — If team members attend a training, make sure they write up their lessons and share them with the rest of the team.

3. Teach yourself — You most likely have experts in your organization. Have staff teach one another — start a work book club, hold internal brown bags, have a monthly lunch and learn.

4. Look at licenses — There are many learning vendors (Lynda, SkillSoft, TreeHouse, etc.) that can offer your employees thousands of lessons and topics to learn. I like this approach because you have access to tons of different subject areas, and it lets employees learn at their own pace.

5. Implement learning — Have you ever gone to an awesome training and nobody in the office wanted to hear about it? To truly be a learning organization, you must listen when staff members return with new ideas. If they come back and are excited about a new technology or methodology, listen and try to find ways to test it in your organization.

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