Since lifelong learning is the new norm, adults want to work for organizations that support and enable that learning in meaningful ways. This video explores the forms this type of learning can take.
- Lifelong learning is now the norm for working adults. According to the latest Deloitte Human Capital Trends report, most workers now face a 60 to 70 year long professional life punctuated by several careers and many jobs. The average time people spend in a job is three to four and a half years, and the half-life for any learned skill is only five years. This means that the modern worker not only expects to be continually learning, they want to work for an organization that supports and enables that learning in meaningful ways.
The Corporate Executive Board found that employees spend 40% of their total time at work learning. And nearly 80% said that their learning occurred outside of what was offered by the learning function. Employees at all levels expect dynamic, self-directed and continuous learning from their employers. LinkedIn's recent Workplace Learning Report found that workers are engaging in learning in the following ways: 52% in the moment of need or on demand, 47% in the evenings and weekends, 42% at their office desk, and 27% on their commute to and from work.
No matter where it's sourced, all professional learning draws from three main forms. The first is Information. This is learning about something and includes facts and knowledge. Whether it's a piece of data, the wording of a policy, or the location of a resource, once the learner has the information, she or he can take action. An example of information might be the amount of money left in the budget or that salt enhances the flavor of foods. The source of the information can be many things, a book, a manual, a person, a website, or an app.
We're living in a world that's been transformed by immediate access to information. Within seconds you can look up virtually anything, anytime of day using a device you carry in your pocket. A positive learning culture will make is easy for people to access information when and where they need it which today means online and mobile formats. The second form is Instruction. This is learning how to do something and includes gaining or improving a skill. Instruction always includes a person who has experience or expertise of the skill, an instructor, who then takes the learner through a process to learn that same skill.
For example, a manager could teach an employee how to balance a budget. And a chef could teach a learner how to make a delicious meal. A positive learning culture provides ample access to the right kinds of instruction at the right time. Align your learning strategy to a model of organizational development so that you can proactively prepare your talent rather than reactively backfilling gaps. In my course, Organizational Learning and Development, I talk about building your learning strategy using my favorite model, The Griner Curve, which identifies that organizations move through six distinct phases requiring different skills of its employees, managers and leaders.
A positive culture of learning helps you not only develop your talent to meet today's challenges, but starts preparing them now for what's coming. Let's look at the third form which is Inspiration, learning why something matters and often includes things like values, vision, purpose and passion. Inspiration is important because it helps the learner to understand the why of the learning so that they're motivated to replicate it in the future and even improve on it. For example, balancing a budget is important because it helps the organization stay in business and even grow, enabling its vision and mission.
And any good chef will tell you that getting the right flavor profile is crucial to creating a joyful eating experience for the diner, one who'll come back again and bring their friends. Again, a positive culture of learning will include appropriate elements of inspiration. When learners know the why behind something, they can actively participate in improving or innovating to achieve the same goal. This can drive both continuous improvement and adaptability. In fact, there are many reasons for professional learning and perhaps the most powerful is adapting to our rapidly changing world.
Others include addressing a specific challenge or problem, improving skills, complying with laws and regulations, imparting information, cultivating high-potential employees, developing good managers and leaders, and empowering career growth at all levels to name a few. You'll want to build a culture of learning that supports lifelong learning in all of its forms.
- Establishing a growth mindset
- Integrating learning into your organization
- Empowering through knowledge sharing
- Overcoming obstacles
- Addressing opportunities
- Measuring success