Continuous learning is not a choice for professionals today; it is a way of life.
Education is a process that goes on throughout one’s lifetime. It includes both learning and unlearning. The term ‘continuous learning’ is derived from the ability of humans to learn from one situation and apply that to the next one. One may express this in a more formalised way as ‘the need for imbibing a defined set of knowledge and skills through a formal educational system. But, in a rapidly changing techno-economic environment, or what one would like to call as a ‘knowledge economy’, one does not have the choice ‘to stop formal learning’.
Careers are no longer confined to national boundaries. There are opportunities today to switch from a ‘need’ based job to a ‘desire’ based job. The above factors make continuous learning exciting and fruitful. Even within organisations horizontal movement helps both the individual and the organisation, when the existing employee is qualified and fits into new roles.
The possibility of retaining existing employees and giving them appropriate roles are some of the benefits for organisations, when they participate in the continuous learning of employees.
Opportunities beyond workplace
The objective of learning is not restricted to employment. The benefits of learning after getting employed are diverse and include improved chances of growth within the organisation as much as creating newer opportunities outside. A large number of Open and Distance Learning providers have come up with highly innovative programmes to cater to the varying needs of learners. So have several others who have used the online mode to impart such learning, a lot of which is free and open. The Internet has revolutionised the way people learn. A case in point is ‘Coursera’ which till now has been able to reach out to a global learner base for many unique programmes. However, for most aspiring learners, the route to continuous learning is still the open and distance learning system or various other institutions which provide short certification programmes.
‘Continuous learning’ is assisted by the social media and social network which allows learning to take place on a sharing and collaborative basis. Even the cell phone has contributed to the process of continuous learning.
A workforce that is in possession of knowledge that is relevant and topical, is the need of the world of business that is changing at the speed of light.
The writer is Dean Academics, HoD of Arts, Humanities, Commerce and Vocational Science and ex HoD Of management, SMUDE.