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Lifelong Learning

08.08.19

Thrive Through Change

Professor Panos instructing a Financial Analysis participant

In a world that is unpredictable and rapidly changing, lifelong learning is no longer a matter of standing out, but of staying relevant. Not only is the nature of work evolving, but so is the way in which work is done. According to Heather McGowan, “The old model was that you learned once in order to work, and now we must work in order to learn continuously. So we’re going from a model of ‘learn, work, retire’ to a model of ‘learn, work, learn, work, learn, work.’” A survey in 2016 by the Pew Research Center found that 87% of workers believed that receiving training and developing new skills would be essential throughout their career in order to keep up with changes in the workplace.

The idea of lifelong learning was even supported by Socrates, the founder of Western Philosophy, who said, “education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel.” Education, especially today, is not a one-stop-shop that you can complete and never revisit. In order to keep the flame burning, you must fuel it continuously and keep it shining bright, even when the conditions may change. Studies have shown that workers who continue to learn and adapt to their surroundings outpace their colleagues when it comes to performance and productivity. 

The shift towards renewable learning will affect workers and employers alike. Their collective ability and willingness to adapt with this evolution will impact the way in which workplaces approach and mitigate more pressing challenges such as diversity, equity, and inclusion and skills gaps. The benefits of lifelong learning are abundant and pivotal to both personal and professional development. Of those who are lifelong learners, 65% say their learning in the past 12 months expanded their professional network, 47% report their extra training helped them advance within their current company, 29% say it enabled them to find a new job with their current or new employer, and 27% say it helped them consider a different career path.

Mike Chaput, president and CEO of Endsight, says “to remain a lifelong learner, [he] combats the tendency to rest on [his] laurels by deliberately making the learning process enjoyable. To [him], learning is part of [his] job — it’s part of life.” Chaput, a Berkeley Executive Education alumni, “embraces a philosophy of lifelong learning” and uses “immediate, practical, and consumable” tools to implement newly learned practices into his daily life.

So, how do you promote a culture of lifelong learning in your own life and organization? You need to create a community that emphasizes and values the significance of continuous learning and ensure people feel safe to take risks and try new things. That means focusing on cultivating your employees’ skills and fostering collaboration between team members. It is crucial to promote a community where failure, inquisitiveness, mastery, and growth are not only accepted, but celebrated. When you invest time in upgrading your employees’ skills and mindsets, they will continuously show up to work as a more innovative professional and engaged person, pouring their new knowledge and ideas back into your organization. Creating a culture where employees value lifelong learning and development will catalyze your ability to thrive through change.  

Looking to Become a Lifelong Learner?

The Certificate of Business Excellence is an opportunity to acquire and hone new skills, gain a mark of distinction from a world-class university, and do it on a timeline that works with your busy schedule. The program is designed for leaders like you - leaders who want to challenge convention. Leaders who want to take intelligent risks and who understand there is always more to learn.

 

Written by:
Amanda Boyd, Berkeley Executive Education Sales & Marketing Intern, UC Berkeley Undergraduate Student