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April 3, 2018

10 Ways to Apply Lifelong Learning to Your Job

Assalamualaikum and hai!

“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn” – Alvin Toffle. Why? Our understanding of the world is changing rapidly. This is the essence of science. Newer and better-quality theories are constantly being picked up and older theories willingly abandoned. This represents that information in the 21st century is ever changing. Thus, we will all have to add lifelong learning (which can be un-learning and re-learning) to our intellectual agendas.

Do consider that lifelong learning can be a valuable asset in the workplace. Whether your job is as a public school teacher or whether you are an investor dealing with johor land, whatever your jobs is, there is always a place and value for learning.

Read books that are related to your career

Reading is one of the main methods of gaining new knowledge. Think about it: those who are well-read and knowledgeable on a variety of topics will tend to get promoted more quickly and more often than those with lack of awareness of literature, or those that have been stagnating. Dive in to titles related to your field of work. Stay up to date with the latest information, breakthroughs and global events in order to stay ahead of your career reading.

Develop new interests outside of your job

You might think that there isn’t a need to be an expert in things that are unrelated to your career. However, you may be surprised at the value that you can derive from being a well-rounded individual. The thing about information and skills in the 21st century is that they are transferable and translational. The skills and knowledge you pick up from something you are passionate about outside of work can surely be incorporated into your job at some point. For example, learn a new language or pick up some theories on business. You’ll never know when these new interests will come in handy.

Write down what you learn

Sharing your journey of learning through words can be a good way to recap what you have learned. This notion is formed from the basis of input and output. You can do this through a blog, or even by writing articles. This helps you have an output for your career outside of your formal job. Active learning involves jotting ideas, taking notes and a high level of participation. You’ll never know when these notes and ideas that you jotted may come in handy later on.

Take new courses and attend talks whenever you can

Short courses can be a good way for you to get some new skills and knowledge. You can even look around for seminars, lectures or conferences to supplement your learning at work. If physical courses are out of question, you can sign up for a number of online courses that you can participate in during your downtime from the comfort of home. Not only will these courses spark your drive to learn something new, it will look on your resume as well.

Join groups related to your interests

Birds of a feather flock together. Joining a group of likeminded individuals will fuel and spark your interests. This will further motivate you to challenge and reinforce your learning. You will also find opportunities to question and answer each other. These groups can be anything from a book club to a professional body or society. Whatever the type of group you choose, it is a great way to motivate yourself to learn.

Teach what you learn to someone

Teaching is one of the best ways to learn. When you teach someone, you are putting what you learned into practice. Find a student or a mentee to take under your wing. You can even organize a study group or learning circle with colleagues who share similar interests. Rotate the teaching each week with a take on a fresh new topic. This way, not only are you teaching, you’re learning as well. When you’ve been blessed with knowledge and information, remember to pass it on.

Never stop asking questions

Engage in active learning whenever possible. This means always asking questions. Don’t sit still and be a passive learner. Rather, push yourself to ask and answer questions regarding what you are learning and have already learned. This translates to the workplace as well. You will cultivate the habit of always pushing concepts and assumptions in order to strive to learn more. You will always learn to take advantage of experts, particularly your superiors, as well as tools readily available around you in order to pull all the knowledge you can out of them.

Don’t be shy to implement, practice and experiment with your learning

Don’t be afraid to put what you’ve learned into practice. Just learned how to speak French? If you have a French coworker, why don’t you try to chat with them in their native language. Practice makes perfect and will hone your skills even further. Always look for ways to implement and integrate your newfound skills and knowledge into your work.

Find a mentor

A mentor can be an invaluable resource in your career. Not only will your mentor be a sounding board for new ideas or questions you might have, they will help guide you in your climb up the corporate ladder. Find someone who truly has sufficient quality time to guide and nurture you. Your mentor will be someone who shares your interests and whose opinions and ideas you really value and respect.

Set milestones along your learning journey

Learning is in itself a lifelong journey. Never forget to set goals and regularly assess your learning curve. You can make your learning journey more meaningful by constantly testing your newfound knowledge and to tie successes in learning to rewards. For example, mastered a new language? Reward yourself with a holiday to a country that speaks the new language. If you’ve successfully implemented your new skillset and learning in a work project or process, don’t forget to always keep on climbing.

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