Last modified 23/11/16

What everybody ought to know about life long learning

by Elizabeth Van Den Bergh

Life is short!

Following the digital revolution (=explosion of information available) that is shaking up our workplace since the nineties, let’s look at how we can benefit from it to engage ourselves in lifelong learning.

We must learn

The workplace is changing at a phenomenal pace and skills become quickly out-dated.  Ongoing life and professional learning should be a key component in our career plans.

How do we learn

We know, we learn best by doing. Or, as Confucius told us: ‘Tell me and I forget. Show me and I may remember. Involve me, and I will understand.’

Understanding how we learn best, helps us to …. learn!

No learning will take place if we are not motivated to learn. Development takes place when we realize there is a need to do so accompanied by the motivation to do something about it.

We learn best in the world of digital revolution when we combine talent and passion.* This combination of passion and talent also tells us something about what we should learn. Competition is high, so we need to be the best in what we do and therefore we need to thrive on our talent and passion.

70/20/10 framework

Here is an interesting framework for learning: it’s the 70/20/10 framework.**

Learning is not just about attending a course. Development falls into 3 categories. An ideal split of development is:

  • 70% on the job experience (when you’re doing your job, solving problems and talking to colleagues)
  • 20% from relationships with others (directly learning with and/or from other people) and
  • 10% off the job formal training (structured learning that you apply back in your job)

Applying this framework helps us to develop continuously.

Transferable skills

A little cherry on the pie: don’t forget to learn and understand your transferable skills and strengths. They thread through our careers like a string of beautiful beads and will become invaluable confidence builders.

Transferable skills are skills you gather through various jobs, hobbies and sports and that you can easily take from one job to another. A few examples: motivation of others, attention for detail, time-management…. the list is long.

A focus on life long learning, combined with careful attention for your transferable skills, will help you become future proof.

*The idea of importance of passion and talent in today’s workplace comes from Jef Staes. Jef Staes is a passionate and inspirational keynote speaker. His thoughts on the future of business and education have inspired many. With metaphors such as the Red Monkey and Sheep Management, he tackles the most fundamental issues organisations struggle with.

**Morgan McCall and his colleagues working at the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) are usually credited with originating the 70/20/10 ratio. Two of McCall’s colleagues, Michael M. Lombardo and Robert W. Eichinger, published data from one CCL study in their 1996 book The Career Architect Development Planner.

(Photo: VFS)