Relearning learning (2/3) : Digital career building blocks

By the 2 July 2019

Employees always come to a point where they are faced with the question of the future. If their daily work is too routine for them, this can be the search for more creative freedom or for tasks that advance their personal development. However, if they struggle with excessive demands in their everyday lives or doubt their abilities, the question is rather how they can meet all the demands. In both cases, the first step should be to see oneself as being an entrepreneur. As someone who needs to increase the value of his or her service and develop skills independently – through targeted training.

Human resource managers at German companies confirm that further training is a decisive factor for job satisfaction, a successful career, exciting projects or cooperation with interesting people. In a study by Kantar TNS on 2018 trends, 88 percent of decision-makers said that career advancement, more responsibility and wider areas of responsibility depend in particular on targeted further training. The study also underlines the fact that learning to accompany careers is becoming increasingly important. Because in the accelerated changes brought by digital transformation, knowledge that is acquired has an ever shorter half-life.





A new mindset leads to successful new learning

Companies classify continuing education as a very high priority for their own sustainability and that of their employees. They also often actively support their staff in this. However, we don’t just learn new skills in passing. It isn’t possible without initiative, responsibility for one’s own learning and personal commitment. This is why people who want to learn need a mindset in which they are aware of their personal benefits. Clear goals – and recognisable ways to achieve them – help them to keep their self-motivation high in the long term. But part of this mindset is also a rethinking of what learning actually means.

Most people are shaped by their learning experiences from their school days. There we collected vast amounts of material and put it in storage to apply later (perhaps once). For general education or critical thinking, this certainly makes sense. But for skills that we urgently need for our jobs, this hardly helps. Instead we have to learn in an applied way – just as we do in our private lives – what should we do if we want to readjust the gears on a bicycle or would like to know how to take good pictures even in low light? We don’t start an apprenticeship as a bicycle mechanic or as a photographer. No, we look at an online tutorial or look for a digital how-to that delivers the concrete solution immediately.

Personalised learning paths provide benefits and motivation

With digital support, the barrier to acquiring practical skills and abilities is significantly lower than in the linear and formal school system. While in classical learning we see a huge mountain of knowledge and information ahead of us, in new learning formats it is a matter of picking up the knowledge as bite-sized canapés (so-called learning modules or nuggets) in a targeted way. We only learn what helps us in our current situation, we apply the knowledge directly and can consolidate and deepen the new skills while working. In this way successful learning can be experienced practically and the learning process is full of life.

This “on-demand learning” is based on high personalisation of one’s own learning path. We choose what we learn, when we learn, at what speed and what content depth. For learning to be permanently available, direct application, use in practice and the repeated use of new skills in a real work setting are essential. The advantages of flexible own-learning – we don’t waste unnecessary time and energy learning content with questionable benefits. Instead, we pick up specialised knowledge or basic skills when we really need them while working. This enables us to face our problems head-on and challenges become less complex.

The Digital Learning Management System

In new, personalised and on-demand learning, digitisation is not an end in itself. Rather, it is a technologically necessary key. It makes bite-sized learning possible that we can use at any time and from anywhere and which we can integrate into our day-to-day work. In digital and digitally-enhanced training formats, learning materials can also be varied in terms of content, personal preference or time constraints. Thus, webinars, lectures and texts are mixed and used on an equal footing with video and audio or interactive elements.

For the successful transfer of knowledge into working practice, it is also enormously beneficial to have all materials available online in the long term. This makes it possible to repeat difficult units as often as desired or to deepen parts of them later. Learners can also share their personal notes, comments or questions with each other and discuss them in communities or with tutors. The digital learning platform, the Learning Management System, plays a crucial role in all of this – it is the central place where all relevant learning content, information and communication channels are gathered and bundled together for learners – always accessible and easy to see. Learn more about the LearningHub@Cegos – the ideal learning platform for a real Learner Experience.

On the way to the future of learning

The international Delphi Study of the Millennium Project on the “Future of Work” takes an analytical look ahead. Learning organised by oneself is cited as a central meta-competency for the coming years. Our personal development, career planning and freedom to design our own professions are increasingly dependent on us developing a personal portfolio of skills and competencies. Digital and digitally supported continuing education enables us to do just that.

Also read Part (1) “The Future of Learning for Companies and Employees” in our professional article series on the topic “Relearning learning”.

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