Why we value continuous learning

The rise of the digital age brought with it an abundance of information that is free and readily attainable. Through Twitter alone, we can craft a continuous feed of content that connects us to ideas, case studies, and papers that are relevant to our interests. With Coursera and similar Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), we can take online classes from highly regarded institutions such as UVA, Johns Hopkins, Emory, and Stanford, complete with in-depth syllabi, online collaboration, and assignments. Learning Photoshop, ReactJS, Tableau, or diving into analytics and strategic frameworks is a click away. All this information means the barrier of entry for learning is lower. Anyone can do anything if they have the motivation.

All this information means the barrier of entry for learning is lower. Anyone can do anything if they have the motivation.

The drive to learn, combined with a wealth of resources, makes a continuous learning habit more possible than ever to develop. In today’s fast-paced, changing environment, channeling intellectual curiosity into effective learning that can be applied is crucial. It’s crucial not only to an individual’s success but also to a business. Industry is changing faster than formal academics can keep up.

At HWC, we look to a core value of continuous learning to stay in front of these changes. If you’re interested in doing the same, here’s two things to get you started.

First, have a professional development plan.

Explore what you enjoy doing and recognize what you don’t. Think about what you want to learn and what makes the most sense from an industry perspective. While we all learn valuable lessons on the job and in the flow of our days, bring intention to your learning by setting some goals for your development. Reflect on these plans often and don’t be afraid to change them.

Second, figure out how.

Maybe it’s five @ 5:00 where you spend five minutes every day at 5 pm to learn and reflect. Perhaps it is signing up for a MOOC and setting the goal of finishing a program with a certificate. You could also pick a project you’ve always wanted to be able to do. For instance, maybe you’ve always wanted to build a website or create a gif.

Regardless of what you choose to do and how, developing a continuous learning habit is rewarding. It’s really just an added bonus that it will be invaluable to your professional success.

 

Graphic by Ashley Saunders

 

About the Authors

Wendy-Henninger

Wendy Henninger

Wendy Henninger is HWC’s Chief of Human Capital and specializes in entrepreneurial, growing companies. Her work centers on fostering a culture that has a lot of heart, and that encourages people to be active participants in the company’s strategic direction and their own career growth. She is a graduate of Guilford College and a past president of the HR Alliance, an association dedicated to human capital leadership and professional development.

Kyle Pipkins

Kyle Pipkins leads HWC’s data & design capability. He holds a B.A. in political science and is pursuing an M.S. in information design and strategy from Northwestern University. In addition to dogs, bourbon, and beaches, Kyle likes understanding and solving problems. He is especially interested in the spaces where human behavior and technology connect.

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