Why do we need to undertake continual learning?
Over recent years I’m continually asked a range of questions about current training methods and especially about the need for ‘lifelong learning’. I thought it would be a good opportunity and time to communicate some of my thoughts and findings gained over many years working and researching within the real estate industry in Australia. A couple of key questions that have been posed which I will make comment on are:
- Why do we need to undertake continual learning (lifelong learning)?
- Is competency based training the most effective and therefore most legitimate for all training?
- To maximise our contribution as trainers do we need to be proactive, risk takers in the design and delivery of training programs.
As training professionals, is it our responsibility to address both the training needs and training wants of the firm?
- When training results in the trainee exhibiting the desired behaviour(s), then the training will have a positive effect on the firm’s profitability?
I will make comment on each of these questions over the coming months starting with the topic of ‘lifelong learning’.
Why do we need to undertake continual learning (lifelong learning)?
Learning is a journey, not a destination. So why do we need the journey?
The key issue is that as an industry, a real estate firm or as an individual within the industry we need to supply superior services to our clients so as to compete effectively in the current and future business environment. This is pressing and can be very stressful and tough. The increasing complexity and instability in many of our markets dictate that every real estate firm, whether small, medium or large must have the skills and focus to develop effective plans and activities so as to be able to achieve the desired results.
Consequently ‘people’ are a critical resource (this concept is referred to in many educational arenas as human capital). In a marketplace where there is often a considerable similarity between competing firms, our people will in many cases, determine the difference between the firm’s performance in the marketplace and that of its competitors. Giving our people the skills/competencies they need, and developing their expertise in applying those skills will assume critical importance.
The rapid pace of technology and social changes has created a need for lifelong development in both professional and technical fields. It has been estimated that within the technical competence domain the shelf life of a degree is less than five years. The American Society of Training and Development estimated that by the year 2025, 70% of the workforce would need re-skilling and training just to keep up with the required standard of work.
Employers are now placing increased emphasis on information and knowledge acquisition. This shift is reflected in the workplace values and becoming clear when management recognises the worth of a firm’s intellectual aspects over and above capital assets. The concept of a ‘learning organisation’ is seen to be the key to success, and indeed a necessity to survive in the competitive marketplace. The importance lays within making learning a common goal of management in the performance of a firm as a total system.
Creating this concept of a lifelong learning environment within a firm can bring many benefits to the individual as well as to the firm. Some of the benefits would include: creating long-term success for the firm, a sense of worth for the individual, increases innovation and creativity, creates personal security within a skill/competency set concept instead of the actual job, attracts people who want to succeed and make a worthwhile positive contribution and develops a happy, satisfied, motivated firm.