Learning is a lifelong activity. An article in the newspaper relays information from recent studies documenting links between physical exercise, learning, and mental health in the elderly. Lifelong learning bridges our knowledge and experience from the vast array of times and events in our lives. Learning prepares us for the next step in our careers and in our lives.
For learning to be effective, it must contain and deliver three aspects: content, access, and technology. Professionals who gain certifications and credentials master these three perspectives of learning. To maintain a professional certification, learning again engages through these three arenas so the candidate can earn PDHs or CEUs (professional development hours or continuing education units).
You’ve probably heard that the volume of information and data doubles at an astounding rate – faster than ever in the history of mankind. In just two years, they say, the amount of information ever created doubled from the beginning of time. Consequently, for a busy professional, knowing where to find information, that is meaningful knowledge, can be a challenge. Studies also show that knowledge retention decline precipitously if the information is not delivered when and how it is needed.
Today, anyone learning a new skill or refreshing basic competencies expects compelling content. That content should be delivered so learners engage as many of their senses as possible. This includes seeing (reading, viewing video), hearing (podcasts), and touching (writing, sketching). As more senses are involved in the learning activity, the retention will increase.
All of our online courses at Simple-PDH.com include lessons to engage these different learning styles, such as reading, watching videos, listening to podcasts, and taking quizzes. Online learning can be supplemented by face-to-face workshops where professional have opportunities to practice their skills in a non-threatening environment. Often, busy professionals cannot find time during a typical workday to test new management theories. An offsite training course provides the chance to apply knowledge in a risk-free environment with other like-minded individuals.
Online learning has huge benefits for students and professionals. Content is available 24/7 and is accessible in whatever format a candidate needs. Learners can switch from a laptop to a cell phone and then to a tablet to complete an online learning module. Having lessons available on digital devices, like smartphones, offers a quick reference in the field as well; thus supporting learning when and where knowledge is needed.
Maintaining professional certification is simple when the information is broken into small chunks. A lot of people are too busy to book two hours per period for continuing education. But, these same people can fill 10 minutes of waiting time with learning. Online PDH courses break the content into small tasks on lessons, typically less than three (3) minutes each.
For candidates that require a deep dive into a new topic, labs and workshops offer access to knowledge and experiences shared in a classroom setting. Peer-to-peer knowledge sharing, known as “social learning,” is an effective way to increase knowledge retention. We remember the stories we hear and share in the classroom.
Finally, learning has been irrevocably changed by technology. Just 20 years ago, when I was in college, the professor wrote on a chalkboard and students took laborious notes in spiral binders. Advanced technology at the time included overhead projectors.
Today, technology assists learning in many ways. As indicated above, online learning delivers content to a candidate on his/her mobile device, transferring seamlessly between computer and classroom. Technology allows us to access the different learning modalities – seeing, hearing, and touch – in order to improve knowledge retention.
Yet, technology can be a hindrance to learning. We are easily distracted by ads and instant messaging while viewing internet content of any kind. Our attention spans have shrunk as we expect to be entertained and we quickly make that decision within a couple of seconds of loading a new web page. Consequently, technology can assist learning but it is not learning in and of itself.
If you want to learn a new capability or refresh an existing skill, you must consider three components to increase your knowledge. First, the content must engage as many senses as possible. Many subject matter experts possess great knowledge and experience in their trade but cannot adequately translate that information. Candidates for professional certification should look for courses (online or face-to-face) that provide opportunities to see, hear, and interact with learning materials. Particularly important to earning and maintaining professional credentials is an opportunity to practice the new skills.
Next, knowledge must be accessible. At Simple-PDH, our online course materials are available on your laptop or mobile device. Our classroom workshops provide reference material to check when you are back in the office facing a new situation. And, we are available to answer questions and share our experiences from the School of Hard Knocks.
Finally, technology can enhance the learning experience but it is not a substitute for well-built lessons. Our knowledge base is supplemented by carefully selected videos and podcasts to encourage multi-modal learner engagement. While our online courses rely on technology as a primary means of delivering information, our labs and workshops still ask you to use pen and paper, role-playing, and active discussion among other simple exercises to cement new concepts into your behaviors as a manager.
Lifelong learning is an adventure. We need to continue to learn to preserve our mental health as we age and to be successful on the job right now. Learning new skills presents challenges to advance our careers and professional performance. At Simple-PDH, learning is convenient and affordable. It’s simple to study, learn, and earn!
information on project management certification. At Simple-PDH.com, we want to make it convenient and affordable for you to study, learn, and earn your professional certification.
Study. Learn. Earn. Simple.
by Global NP Solutions, LLC