Lifelong Learning: The Art and Science of Career Reinvention “Iteration”

 Jan 16, 2018 9:00 AM

We had a fantastic conversation at April's Coffee and Careers that was focused on Lifelong Learning. It's a conversation that fits in perfectly with the idea of “Reinventing Yourself.”  Lifelong learning keeps us engaged, curious and relevant. And it takes many forms.
There is informal learning which is really about paying attention to life and learning from our experiences, rather than just going through the motions. Then there is formal learning - specific courses offered for specific purposes.
Our conversation steered more towards the formal.
All too often, when we think of career iteration and redirection, we jump to the conclusion that what we need is one more course (or one more degree). Part of what came out of our conversation at Coffee and Careers was the importance of recognizing why we're taking a course. Is it to build confidence and credibility? Is it to stay current with trends and skills? Is it to gain knowledge and if so, why is that new knowledge necessary? Or is to explore general interests?
We broke Lifelong Learning strategies into 4 categories:

To stay current.  This is more general knowledge that's necessary to function in our current work environments. Be it hard skills like keeping up with LinkedIn or the latest software or resume formats or softer skills like intergenerational communication or the importance of resilience. But be aware... just because everyone on Facebook is saying "This is the next great thing that you HAVE to know"... doesn't make it so.

To maintain industry knowledge.  These are the things we need to know specific to our business environments, be it to maintain a certification or to remain relevant in our respective industries. There are many courses and webinars offered as part of professional certification...which ones will you actually learn from while maintaining your certification?  Which will help propel you forward while fulfilling basic requirements?

To change careers or alter our career paths.  Sometimes we do need to take formal courses to either explore new areas of knowledge or to introduce ourselves to the new environments of our choosing. And sometimes we just think we need to take a course because, fundamentally, we're insecure about the change. Ask for credible help to identify the difference.
Personal Learning.  There are so many exciting things to know and so many exciting ways to learn them. Medieval Art? "There's an online course for that... taught by Stanford University!"  It's fantastic to keep curiosity alive and so important to our well-being...but we sometimes justify the learning time to ourselves as "professional development" (after all it's offered by Stanford!). Always invest in personal development...but recognize when it's not "professional development" no matter who is teaching it.

Be honest with yourself which course is in what category and what you want to learn versus what you need to learn.
Our goal with the Centre for Career Innovation is to offer Professional Development courses that speak to what you need to know as part of the Future of Work.
Learning is a beautiful thing.

“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.”
― Henry Ford



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