You’ve finished your formal schooling and have entered the workforce. You may have been working for some time or perhaps have received a promotion. Does all this progress mean the end of your learning path?

The answer is absolutely not.

Having a growth mindset is invaluable, professionally and personally. Continuous learning is building new skills and knowledge throughout your career and, indeed, throughout your life. It’s about updating skills and expanding your knowledge through practical lessons, theory and/or technical know-how.

This week’s expert article focuses on the benefits of continual learning and suggests ways you can blossom through different learning methods.

Benefits of continual learning

The many benefits of a growth mindset include:

  1. Stimulating your mind and keeping you alert.
  2. Paving the way for new career opportunities, in your direct field, related field or in a new field.
  3. Enabling you to earn more money by increasing personal performance and competence.
  4. Uncovering hidden talent and enriching your life in ways you never thought possible.
  5. Positioning you to be a top performer and ripe for promotion.
  6. Making you more marketable and giving you an edge in a highly competitive career world, through improved professional attitude and performance.
  7. Enabling you to sharpen your resume and make it more noticeable.
  8. Improving your mental wellbeing and boosting your confidence and self-esteem.
  9. Making you a better and positive person, with a more contemporary attitude (after all, who wants to be a fuddy-duddy?).
  10. Empowering yourself to see life in a new light and building faith in seizing opportunities and taking that next leap.

Ways to get on the learning curve

Formal learning

Formal learning is usually designed around specific learning purposes or goals. It tends to be highly organised and implemented in a set way and for a set number of hours. Some formal learning options require more time and cost more than others.

Examples

  • tertiary education—university, college, technical training, vocational schools
  • internal workplace training opportunities, even short workshops, seminars, lectures
  • external formal workshops or conferences, targeting areas of growth
  • e-learning courses you complete at your own pace
  • Internet learning you complete in your own time on your phone, tablet or computer
  • massive open online courses, of which some are free and others affordable and flexible.

Self-directed learning

Self-directed learning is, as its name implies, something you direct by choosing material that supplements your knowledge and capabilities. You can begin self-directed learning at any time and continue at your own pace.

Examples

  • podcasts, TEDx talks by experts, which are enjoyable and relatively quick
  • self-help/self-learning reading (books, magazines, online), which help you gain a deeper understanding of a topic
  • instructional videos that walk you through step-by-step learning.

Social learning

Social learning is interacting with others to increase your knowledge. This can be formal and informal.

Examples

  • joining social media discussion groups that can expand your way of thinking
  • reading and following blogs on topics relevant to your career
  • tapping into expert articles and resources that focus learning
  • working with co-workers and team members to gain insights
  • finding a coach or mentor who shares wisdom and helps guide you in new ways.

Important tips

  1. With self-directed and social learning, tap into reputable sources of information so you’re not leading yourself astray. Feel free to ask others about quality material they’ve learned from.
  2. Schedule time that’s convenient for undistracted learning. You can, for example, listen to podcasts while walking the dog or driving to work.
  3. Ask your workplace about internal and external learning opportunities and build these into a professional development plan.
  4. Mix it up. Continual learning doesn’t have to be directly related to your career. Learning soft skills and thinking laterally about new content is all beneficial.
  5. Have fun. Enjoy building your knowledge and developing a modern, contemporary outlook on life and work.
  6. Choose cost-effective and time-effective ways to learn if you can’t invest in the hours required for, say, a formal university degree. Modules, for example, are easy to absorb one-by-one without stressing your schedule.
  7. Think about other ways to upskill for future.