For example, as technology changes, when you practice continuous learning, you will seamlessly upskill your current tech knowledge to stay updated with prevailing changes.
Continuous learning can be practiced by attending professional development sessions, practicing new skills in the workplace, attending formal training sessions, learning in informal online courses, among many other learning methods.
Here at CTSA, we offer Training as a Service (TaaS) where you can attend courses overtime instead of enrolling in a large one-off course. This encourages progression for ongoing skills development – aka continuous learning.
As our world continually (and rapidly) changes around us, continuous learning is more important than ever.
But what are the benefits of practicing continuous learning?
When you are learning a new skill, and you do not yet have the competence, your confidence can be low. This is also true for existing skills that you have not practised for a while.
Continuous learning supports you to continually practise your skills and maintain your competence. This is extremely important when you are working with technology.
We live and work in an era where technology is always, and rapidly, changing around us. Most of the software we work with have new releases of updates or new features on a regular basis.
If you do not maintain a rhythm of continuously learning what is involved in each new release, you can risk suddenly being incompetent with the software that you use. For example, assume that a software you use has a new release every 2 weeks. That is 26 new releases a year.
Granted, not all the updates in a release will be new features, but over the course of the year there are important updates that you must be aware of. If you do not, you risk being in a situation where you cannot complete a task efficiently because you do not know how to use the new features.
Not only is this a detriment to your competence, but it also starts to affect your productivity.
We all strive for productivity, right? The last thing you want is to waste your time away on mundane tasks and not actually complete anything. Of course, there are productivity courses you can take online as part of your continuous learning. You can also read articles for productivity tips and advice.
However, continuous learning helps you to be productive in the sense that you can complete more in less time because of the competency, proficiency and efficiencies you have learnt throughout your learning. Productivity is not only about focusing on a task, but it is about the competency to proficiently and efficiently complete the task.
This is what you gain from practicing continuous learning.
Proficient vs Efficient
Before we look at these two benefits, let’s continue our software example to explore the difference between proficient and efficient. Proficient is when you are skilled in software while efficient is making good use of the resources available.
For example, to be proficient in software, you need to learn its features and practicalities. To be efficient in software, you need to practice using the keyboard shortcuts to the features you are proficient in using.
How can continuous learning build your proficiency and efficiency?
Previously, we explored the disadvantages of not keeping up to date with new releases in software. As this affects your competency, so too does it affect your proficiency.
However, through continuous learning, you can build your proficiency. This continuous learning can involve allocating time to read release notes, continually practising new features and attending formal training.
Here at CTSA, we have dedicated training sessions where you can improve your computer skills and increase your proficiency. Click here for a list of all our courses.
As you build your competency and proficiency, continuous learning opportunities will support you to increase your efficiency.
What does this look like?
In our software example, this is where you start to learn fundamental keyboard shortcuts to increase your speed. Yes, you may already copy and paste content through keyboard shortcuts, but did you know about these shortcuts:
- [Shift] [Enter]: Moves the active cell up to the previous cell
- [Shift] [Backspace]: Collapse the selected range to the active cell
- [Ctrl] [D]: Duplicate
- [Ctrl] + click in the sentence: Select a sentence
- [Ctrl] [Delete]: Delete a word to the right
- [Shift] [F5]: Return to previous edit point
Imagine the improvements to your efficiency when you learn these shortcuts. This is the type of continuous learning we offer at CTSA. The above is part of our free email series called “Save a Million Minutes”. We are so confident that you, along with your peers, will save a million minutes with these time saving shortcuts. Click here to sign up for the email series.
As above, when you practice continuous learning, you will build competency, productivity, proficiency and efficiency. All three support you to achieve excellence in your role.
What does that mean?
You will most likely reach your personal goals and professional key performance indicators (KPIs).
But continuous learning does not just help you to achieve excellence, it challenges you to think outside the box.
As you start to gain new skills, improve your competencies and achieve excellence, you will start to build the capacity to be innovative.
Going back to our software example, as you have a thorough and in-depth understanding of features you are able to think outside of the box to solve problems.
For example, you send management a monthly excel spreadsheet that has Pivot tables reporting on performance. Previously, you write instructions in an email to remind management to refresh the pivot tables. However, as you are now proficient in Microsoft Excel, you know that there is a feature to automatically update Pivot tables when the file is open.
But innovation is not only limited to using the available features. You may create newer and efficient processes by combining features together. The world is your oyster.
However, if you do not implement strategies for continuous learning, how can you expect to offer excellence and innovation?
Make a start with continuous learning
Start with these 10 tips for continuous learning.
At CTSA, our Training as a Service (TaaS) is a subscription-based service. This means that you do not need to gain financial approval or sign off to enrol in a course. What’s more is that the subscriptions can be shared across multiple teams. As a reminder, courses are delivered overtime rather than all at once to support you with your progression in continuous learning.
Click here to find out about TaaS and start your continuous learning journey.