Our society and economy changes worldwide through digitalization. That is not new and has been an ongoing process in our changing world. The effects are faster production processes and the need for rapid innovation. Although the effects are well known and described, what is about you and your team? How can you adapt to these processes and leverage them?
One key factor is education and besides the formal education, the ongoing development of skills and knowledge in the context of lifelong or career-long and informal learning. Let me tell you why:
The ongoing qualification of practitioners is usually subsumed under the concept of lifelong learning. After its first mention in 1967, it has become one of the main international educational guidelines in the mid 90s (Óhidy, 2011). Lifelong learning is in particular important because of structural changes in our society, the increasing acceleration of innovations and the associated change (Süssmuth, 2014). Lifelong learning is important to actively manage a change and to stay competitive (Óhidy, 2011), because no one can assume to have finished with education and learning when leaving college. Permanent changes and new requirements in the job demand to keep up-to-date (Arnold & Rohs, 2014). Through dynamic requirements and complex conditions, it is not always possible to design a formal course with a curriculum (Arnold & Rohs, 2014).
That means your employees have a certain contextual knowledge, which is important, however, it is not representable in a formal training situation. This is one reason why informal learning processes that employees or groups of employees perform in a self-directed way with no pre-written curriculum are so important and a crucial competitive factor for your team and your whole organization.
Did you know that UNESCO estimates that about 70 percent of human learning processes take place informally (Neuber, 2009)? You as leader or manager play a key role here!
How could you foster informal learning within you team?
- Find out, which members of you team have certain qualifications and skills, which are key factors for the success of you team.
- Try to enhance this knowledge and let those employees lead a sub group to inform and learn with others; like a community of practice.
- Think about how your team could document specific knowledge to preserve and further develop it.
- Give your team the freedom and time for learning and communicating with others.
- You could initiate weekly meet ups – just dedicated to learning. Every team member presents something new occasionally. When you work in a large organization, this could also be something new within your company (e.g. an innovation from you research and development department)
- Be open, try to see what your employees are good at, and nurture these strengths.
Coaching can help you to develop activities to support lifelong learning in your team. Contact Annette to explore the opportunities for you, to establish a plan, and to support the implementation and evaluation of adequate learning activities.
- Arnold, Rolf /Rohs, Matthias (2014): Von der Lernform zur Lebensform. In: Kurt Willibald Schönherr (Hg.): Lebenslanges Lernen. Wissen und Können als Wohlstandsfaktoren. Wiesbaden: Springer VS, S. 21–28.
- Neuber, Nils (2009): Informelles Lernen im Sport. Bewegung, Spiel und Sport in der Ganztagsbildung. 1. Aufl. Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften.
- Óhidy, Andrea (2011): Der erziehungswissenschaftliche Lifelong Learning-Diskurs. Rezeption der europäischen Reformdiskussion in Deutschland und Ungarn. 1. Aufl. Wiesbaden: Springer Fachmedien.
- Süssmuth, Rita (2014): Lebenslanges Lernen – Relevanz und Stellenwert. In: Kurt Willibald Schönherr (Hg.): Lebenslanges Lernen. Wissen und Können als Wohlstandsfaktoren. Wiesbaden: Springer VS, S. 11–17.