What is continuous learning and how can it boost engagement?

The speed and breadth of the changes hurtling towards today’s organizations are unprecedented. 

To deal with them, we have to (as individuals and teams) learn, process and apply new information at a rapid pace. This has surfaced the concept of continuous learning, a philosophical shift towards how learning impacts engagement in the modern age. 

What is continuous learning? 

3 cartoon figures climbing books like they are stairs

source

Continual learning, constant learning, lifelong or continuous learning describes the process of acquiring skills and knowledge on an on-going basis. It’s a fluid process that takes many forms including social learning, formal learning or self-directed learning. 

While the ways in which continuous learning occurs may differ, the end goal - be it personal or professional - is the same: To incrementally increase skills and know-how to stay relevant, agile and adaptable in a fast-changing world. 

Why continuous learning is a must-have in the workforce

An Olympic athlete doesn’t just train once a year (they wouldn’t last long if they did). To stay sharp, they train multiple times in a given week, with different training sessions targeting different weaknesses, strengths and skills specific to their sport. In the workplace, the process of learning, acquiring new skills and building resilience is similar. 

It’s an ever-present process, not a one-off event. Hence why “firehosing” employees with information fails to educate or engage learners - as it forces them to rely on “short-term” rote memorization to pass an exam or course. 

The result is a surface level understanding that leaves little to be retained and applied to the day-to-day roles and challenges that employees face. This is why Learning Experience Platforms (LXPs) like Totara Engage, combine continuous learning with seamless collaboration to make workplace education more engaging, effective and practical. 

Continuous learning is built into the flow of work

702010.png

source

The 70:20:10 model of learning states that:

  • 70 percent of learning happens through experience
  • 20 percent of learning comes from peers and mentors
  • And only 10 percent occurs through formalized training

Regardless of whether or not you follow the model, we can all agree that learning isn’t limited to the walls of a classroom or boardroom table. 

Learning happens deep in the flow of work - when we’re wrestling a challenging problem, taking corrective notes from mentors, or researching solutions independently. It’s a flexible, cumulative process found in daily tasks and experiences.

Therefore, incorporating continuous learning ensures that knowledge and skills are gradually gained through practical experiences and peer-to-peer interactions. This natural, continuous learning process, according to the principles of Neuroplasticity, increases both retention and engagement

The business benefits of continuous learning and higher engagement

Continuous learning makes the upskilling process collaborative, practical and engaging for employees. Here’s how this specifically translates to a future-ready and high-performance workforce:

  1. It expands the potential of your organization 

Knowledge is power. And the more knowledge, skills and experience your workforce has, the better equipped they are to adapt to strenuous challenges and push the envelope of what’s possible in your industry. At the same time, continuous learning prevents the stagnation of skills and helps ensure you don’t fall behind your competitors. 

     2. It’s budget and workforce-friendly 

Attracting, acquiring and onboarding new employees is one of the biggest financial and time costs for most organizations. Developing the skills of existing employees reduces the financial blow and associated time costs. 

     3. It motivates and engages employees 

Prioritizing continuous learning shows employees that you value them and their career development. 

When you implement continuous learning with tools like Totara’s cutting-edge Learning Experience Platform (LXP), Totara Engage, employees can access hidden subject matter experts in your organization, share knowledge with others (and get recognized for it) and receive timely content recommendations in the flow of work. 

Totara Engage supports a continuous learning process that builds highly-skilled and engaged workforces capable of quickly adapting to change. 

To learn more about Totara Engage and how it can support your organisation, contact a friendly Androgogue today.

This is a guest post from Totara Learning.