Considerations about a new learning approach for busy people!

We are all aware of the great importance of continuously improving ourselves personally and professionally in response to constant changes in our busy lives. It’s what I called “Living the Future now”, which literally means “doing what we should be doing tomorrow, today” and forgetting the simplistic fact that the only possible time we have is now.

When we are so concerned about building the future in one hand we tend to forget that we live everyday, one day at a time and in the other hand that we don’t have control over the future.

Everybody seems quite busy working on the future and not necessarily addressing present issues. We are constantly bombarded by subliminal messages that condition the way we perceive reality, think and process information, here are some of them: save as much as you can for the future, invest in real estate for the future, get all the professional certifications for the future, change all your priorities thinking about the future, don’t slow down now, the future awaits for you, don’t get into a relationship because it will slow you down, or the more degrees and certifications you have the more valuable and irreplaceable you are. The point here is that it is impossible to keep up with everything around us, therefore we need to understand the importance of keeping up with change, making the most out of our time limitations and managing our priorities.

Keeping up with Change:
When it comes to learning new skills, people don’t have time for keeping up with current events, relevant knowledge and changes in working processes, procedures and policies. Technology is practically changing everything we do, from ordering our groceries online to getting connected to intranets and websites for learning purposes. The point here is that everything requires acquiring new knowledge intellectual and/or experiential, which brings us to the next point:

Time Limitations:
We all have busy schedules and with so many things to do and so little time to accomplish the unthinkable, we are force to do whatever it takes to get what we need just to keep our head above the water. Then, when it comes to learning new skills and developing new competencies the following questions arise:

What do I really need to learn now? (With so much to learn it seems an impossible task)
Who will help me during the process? (Management, human resources, subject matter experts, etc.)
Where do you I have to go? (Classroom, intranet, internet, multimedia, etc)
When can I learn and how long it will take me to reach the level of proficiency my job requires?
Why do I need to learn something new every time something or somebody changes my job?

Giving the limitations of time employees are forced either to learn on their own using what is known as: “Learning anywhere, anytime” or increase their working hours to add their training and development needs to their busy schedules at the workplace. The more demoralizing factor here is the fact that working conditions and job requirements are constantly changing, which takes us to a next point:

Managing Priorities:
When it comes to career advancement or career planning the paths are always unpredictable simply because nobody knows what is needed and specifically when. Some companies are offering more than 100 Web Based Training Courses and this is just to be in compliance with employment regulations and basic soft and computer skills.

Universities are offering thousands of courses covering almost every subject, certifications, re-certifications and advanced degrees using traditional classroom training and e-learning solutions. The worse part is not just determining what to study, where or how but how relevant the curse is going to be for a present need and perhaps for future applications.

Managing priorities is the most challenging aspect of today’s existence and probably this explains the exploitation of the phrase: “Accelerated Learning”, everybody is using it. Nowdays, everything is accelerated, intense, total immersion, etc. It’s like learning fast and moving on…or just keep doing what we have always done, “learn as we go”.

Most people will agree with me on the fact that in the process of sharing knowledge we complicate things rather than simplifying them. Accelerated Learning should be about customizing relevant programs, simplifying concepts and practical applications, facilitating learning by using innovative techniques and methodologies and finally making the overall learning experience exciting, challenging and rewarding with overall effectiveness. Acceleration = Simplification.

Author's Bio: 

Nelson Leon, Ph.D., Director of Organization and Employee Development with AHRD in New York. He is a professional with more than 10 years experience in Human Resources Management, Organizational Development and a subject matter expert in building and supporting learning organizations. He contributes regularly with many professional publications and is currently writing a book about “Simplifying Employee Training & Development”.