The 5 Benefits of Lifelong Learning

The 5 Benefits of Lifelong Learning

In 2016, The Pew Research Center found that 74% of American adults consider themselves “lifelong learners,” meaning they seek out learning activities in either their personal or professional lives (http://www.pewinternet.org/2016/03/22/lifelong-learning-and-technology/). These learning activities take many forms, from online seminars and courses through hands-on workshops and classes, from TED talks to self-study.

74% of American adults consider themselves “lifelong learners”

There are many reasons people dedicate their time to increasing their knowledge, both personal and professional, and learning beyond the traditional school years has countless benefits. For the learner focused on their professional life, high among these benefits are:

  1. Maintaining and improving skills

Most professionals who dedicate time to continued learning do so to maintain and improve the skills on which their jobs depend. 87% of those interviewed by Pew cited this as the reason for their continued focus on learning.

  1. Licensing and certification

57% of professionals who engaged in learning activities in the last year said they did so to get a license or certification. In many areas, achieving and maintaining various licenses and certifications is essential to keeping jobs and growing in your career.

  1. Raises and promotions

39% of professional learners said they continue their educations to work toward raises and promotions in their current jobs.

  1. Job mobility

Not every job is the right job. Some professional leaners engage in further training to make themselves better candidates for new positions. 21% of those who engaged in learning in the last year gave this reason.

  1. Job retention

12% of professionals who engaged in continued learning did it as insurance, wanting to keep their skills marketable for possible downsizing.

Research on the job market indicates that professionals who invest in lifelong learning are on the right track. In 2017, The Economist called lifelong learning an “economic imperative,” writing:

“A college degree at the start of a working career does not answer the need for the continuous acquisition of new skills, especially as career spans are lengthening. Vocational training is good at giving people job-specific skills, but those, too, will need to be updated over and over again during a career lasting decades.” (https://www.economist.com/news/special-report/21714169-technological-change-demands-stronger-and-more-continuous-connections-between-education)

The Harvard Business review agrees, mentioning not only the clear economic benefits of being a lifelong learner, but also the intangible benefits. John Coleman writes:

“Think of the best conversationalist you know. Do they ask good questions? Are they well-informed? Now picture the colleague you most respect for their professional acumen. Do they seem literate, open-minded, and intellectually vibrant? Perhaps your experiences will differ, but if you’re like me, I suspect those you admire most, both personally and professionally, are those who seem most dedicated to learning and growth.” (https://hbr.org/2017/02/lifelong-learning-is-good-for-your-health-your-wallet-and-your-social-life)

It is not difficult to explain why the engaged, curious employee Coleman describes will move more quickly up the ladder than their less learning-focus colleague.

Just as committing time and effort to continued learning is a smart investment for employees, making learning available and accessible is a wise move for employers. Leading companies like Facebook and Google have taken the lead in emphasizing lifelong learning for their employees, but smaller companies can follow their example. Robert Half, the world’s largest specialized staffing firm, calls company investment in employee professional development “a win for the entire team.” It is a tool for both employee retention and recruitment, as well as booster of job satisfaction (https://www.roberthalf.com/blog/management-tips/professional-development-training-a-win-for-the-entire-team).

For both employers and employees, a focus on lifelong learning requires commitment and resources—time, energy, and money. Technological advances allow for unprecedented flexibility in providing and accessing learning opportunities, as well as planning and managing your individual learning trajectory. It is now easier than ever to make the commitment to lifelong learning and to realize its many benefits.

Download the Infographic!

Meridian Debuts Career Development, Enhanced Privacy and Compliance Features

Reston, Va. – April 27, 2018 – Meridian Knowledge Solutions, a leading cloud-based learning management system (LMS) provider, announces the availability of Meridian LMSTMversion 18.1. In this release, Meridian applies their long-term focus on learning to innovative ways for users to organize and oversee their own career development paths, increased flexibility and functionality in employee career development for managers, enhanced data privacy and compliance features, and restructured system architecture for easier and more efficient navigation across devices.

“We have many customers who have been looking to move their training programs beyond compliance to focus on upskilling workers for the jobs the company will need in the future. We’ve partnered with them to create a powerful suite of tools to give visibility into the skills and competencies needed for these jobs, and an engaging ‘what’s in it for me’ point of reference for learners.  We also heard our customers tell us that they love what we’re doing with gap analysis in Career Development, but they want to use data from an external performance system to drive it. So, we made it happen.”

– Geoff Perry, Chief Product Officer
Meridian Knowledge Solutions

With each release, Meridian reiterates their commitment to learning, providing increasingly complex and in-depth functionality to meet the learning needs of businesses and organizations across the industry spectrum.

Meridian LMS 18.1 release focuses on career development, improved system architecture, and compliance/user privacy

 

Meridian LMS 18.1 release highlights include:

Career Development:

Given the high cost of a bad hire, quality career development is a huge asset to a business. A new Career Development area allows learners to easily view and manage all aspects of their career development, both for success in their current positions and in search of future advancement. The new Career Management area allows managers and administrators to easily access tools to manage their teams. These improvements help complex organizations develop their employees, moving beyond compliance training and toward well-considered long-term career-focused learning paths.

Import of Rating Data:

Rating data can now be imported from another system, allowing this valuable information to be instantly accessed and leveraged as part of career development planning in the LMS. While most companies conduct some sort of job reviews, many do nothing with their rating data. Often, it sits unused in dusty talent management systems, completely divorced from plans for employee development and training. Now, this important data can be easily decoupled from talent management systems and added to the LMS, where it will serve a vital role in career management.

Too often, career management and development are bundled with bulky talent management and acquisition systems—expanded and efficient career development within Meridian LMS allows customers the freedom to dissociate these very different functions.

Enhanced Privacy & Compliance Features:

System owners now have access to new features to support the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) which are scheduled to take effect on May 25, 2018.  With these new features, system owners have more control over their privacy policy, requiring user consent prior to users storing their data, exporting learning data, and removing user’s personal data from the system if requested.

Architectural Improvements:

Significant improvements have been made to the underlying system architecture, including the creation of a new site map. This allows for consistent menus and breadcrumbs across the site, as well as more efficient navigation across devices.

Meridian LMS 18.1 is available April 28, 2018. For more information, contact your Meridian representative or go to meridianks.com.

About Meridian Knowledge Solutions:

Meridian Knowledge Solutions, LLC, is a leading provider of enterprise, web-based learning management software. Meridian LMS is leveraged by organizations dedicated to building world-class learning enterprises. With over 7 million users worldwide, Meridian offers a flexible, best-of-breed learning management system that gives organizations and users alike a seamless, integrated experience, all while strengthening the bottom line. Meridian is headquartered in Reston, VA.

How Managers Can Become Career Agents

The concept of a career agent isn’t new or novel. At some point or another, everyone has worked alongside a career agent. You know the type: The great managers of people in your organization that genuinely care about the future of their colleagues. They not only know their employee’s career goals; they do everything in their power to help them achieve their dreams.

 

You know a great career agent when you see one. People gravitate to them as mentors and coaches. They want them to be their managers because they know they have their best interest in mind.  But, great leaders aren’t born overnight. Billions of dollars are spent each year on leadership development and training, and often the results are less than desired.

 

Last week I sat down with Kris Dunn, CHRO of Kinetix and founder of Fistful of Talent, and Ed Baldwin, Founder of HRO Partners, to discuss the importance of incorporating career agent training into your learning and development programs. During the candid conversation we talked about:

 

  • How to encourage managers to include WIIFM (What’s in it for me?) in every conversation with employees – which is a serious game changer
  • Why having an approach to coaching skills is a must when it comes to improving performance
  • Ways to prepare managers (through training) to change their world-view and leadership style

 

Check out a recording of the recent L&D Hangout with Fistful of Talent to hear some funny and insightful advice on how to make managers career agents today!