Elearning! December 2014 / January 2015

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The Business Impact of

Continuous Learning AS BEN FRANKLIN ONCE SAID: ‘WITHOUT CONTINUAL GROWTH AND PROGRESS, SUCH WORDS AS IMPROVEMENT, ACHIEVEMENT AND SUCCESS HAVE NO MEANING.’ BY CANDY OSBORNE Saying that there aren’t enough people to perform all the jobs in the world isn’t really the reason why organizations have talent gaps. There are more than enough people in the world to get the jobs done. According to McKinsey & Company, within the next five years, the global labor market will face a deficit of nearly 85 million skilled workers. Specifically, that’s a potential shortfall of 38 million to 40 million highskill workers and 45 million medium-skill workers. The gravity of the gaps suggest that doing what we’ve always done will not suffice. The imbalances aren’t in the human population per se, but the skills to perform

the jobs that will be required and having the right people in the right place at the right time. And as research demonstrates, the challenge to learning leaders will be “skilling up” the workforce proactively to meet the demands of the pace of change in the world around them. MAKING LEARNING AND PRODUCTIVITY ENDS MEET We all know that learning leads to growth, but why does it feel like our learning behaviors take a 180-degree turn after the school years? Think about it; for the first 18 years of life, we attend formal schooling, most likely in a standard classroom-based environment and then onto college, apprenticeships, and/or the military where there is more instruction, reinforcement, and application of what is learned in the classroom. At some point in our lives, we settle into our first job with that cumulative knowledge and — all of a sudden — the constant-

ness of “learning” has disappeared, the rug pulled out from under us. After attending onboarding, we find ourselves needing to know tangible, impactful skills-related things, like how to create a pivot table, how to problem solve, how to manage a complex project, and how to deal with a stubborn co-worker. A shift in our learning modus operandi has occurred. Instead of participating in mandatory training to fulfill a milestone or requirement, we find ourselves needing to learn skills that are applicable to our day-to-day lives. We may find ourselves with more questions than answers as our needs and understanding progress. At this point, we find the need for self-directed learning, but without constant access to it, our individual progress and that of the organization is hindered. The answer to getting ahead in business and in life, is to practice continuous growth and progress. Organizations that haven’t established a continuous learning culture also are likely the same ones that have the

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