Encourage Lifelong Learning with These Simple (and free!) Techniques

It’s True. Watching Videos Can Create Lifelong Learners at Your Organization

In every company, resources are scarce. So why will you find Enable Education employees watching TED Talk videos every Tuesday?

Satisfying use of alliteration aside, it’s because lifelong learning is a commitment in our office and our employees reward us with hard work, creativity, and loyalty for it.

By the end of this article, you will:

  1. Understand what lifelong learning in the workplace is
  2. Know the benefits of lifelong learning (using our company as a case study)
  3. Learn some free lifelong learning methods you can use in your office

What is Lifelong Learning?

Lifelong learning is education pursued beyond school in the pursuit of knowledge for either personal or professional development. It occurs when you try new recipes, read professional development books, practice a new language, undergo skill-based training and more!

The key rule of lifelong learning is that it’s voluntary and self-motivated. If you try to force compulsory learning on to your employees, it won’t work. Employees have to want to learn, and if you give them the right opportunity, they will.

What are the Benefits of Practicing Lifelong Learning in the Workplace?

Employee Retention

As any business owner knows, finding quality staff is challenging and costly. Once you’ve got that perfect employee, you don’t want to lose them. Lifelong learning can help with that.

In the 2017 Gallup Report on the state of the American workplace, a lack of career growth opportunities and poor company culture were two of the most common reasons cited for leaving a company.

By encouraging lifelong learning, you prove to your employees that you care about their development and want them to grow in their role. However, it’s by providing learning opportunities in your office that you as the business owner will realize all of the benefits. Some cost-efficient ideas are discussed later in this article, but for now, know that learning methods don’t have to be expensive, just accessible and consistent like Enable’s TED Talk Tuesdays.

By offering these learning activities, you create an environment full of career growth options for your employees. If they feel that they are still learning and developing skills on the job, they will also be more likely to stay. Additionally, if the learning activities are fun, they can bring your staff closer together and improve your company’s culture.

Reenergized Staff

According to 2017 study from the IZA Institute of Labor Economics, employees are only productive for an average of 4.6 hours in an eight-hour day. Learning opportunities break up the daily work routine and re-energize staff for the rest of the day.

Increased Creativity and Problem-Solving Skills

One of the best benefits of practicing lifelong learning in the office is that your employees will take what they’ve learned and apply it in the office. These events open up conversation and perspectives, generating great ideas and inspiration across all teams.

At Enable, everyone has adopted a commitment to learning. When our employees go back to their desk after a TED Talk, they feel motivated to apply what they’ve learned.
Two professionals watching a video on a laptop

How Can You Encourage Lifelong Learning in your Business?

In the introduction of the article, I mentioned that you can catch Enablers watching TED Talks every Tuesday. This is one way that we encourage lifelong learning in the office. The best part?

It’s free.

Here is how it works. Every Tuesday, an invitation goes out to everyone in the office, inviting them to that week’s TED Talk. Employees bring their own lunches to watch a preselected talk. By making attendance option, individuals don’t feel pressured; they know they’re welcome anytime they feel ready to learn. It’s just an informal way to bring eager Enablers together during lunchtime, which helps build our company culture.

It’s easy to plan.

Our event planner made a TED account that lets her build a playlist of videos. The TED site has preexisting lists to peruse or you can search for different keywords and topics to get you started. Enable staff members are also invited to share their own suggestions through the a dedicated company Slack channel. The talks chosen are meant to inspire, educate, and challenge current perspectives. The best part is the intelligent conversation that sparks after the video finishes. This conversation is crucial, as it maximizes the amount of value our employees get from the talk. They may have come up with interesting ideas themselves and sharing these ideas spreads that value to everyone else. When our employees believe in each other’s capability, the sense of trust and comradery in the office goes up and better work gets done.

For our first TEDTalk Tuesday, we watched “Do schools kill creativity?” a talk given by Sir Ken Robinson in 2006. As a company dedicated to revolutionizing education, you can imagine that prompted lots of lively dialogue!

Some of the interesting takeaways from our staff were:

“It’s better to focus more on our strengths since it will make us happier and engaged with our work.”

“We put a lot of value on math and science skills while arts skills go unappreciated. Some people can do amazing things with that knowledge. It’s okay if you are stronger in that area, it’s not worth less than other skills.”

This is just one way you can introduce lifelong learning into the office.

BONUS METHOD: Another method we love at Enable is learning lunches. In every office, someone is an expert in something. Get them to do an informal talk during lunch. This gives your employee the opportunity to talk about something they’re passionate about and spreads that expert knowledge to your other employees.

Finally, the best way to promote learning in your office is to ask your employees what they want to learn. If they want to learn something, odds are they are going to be pretty excited when you give them an opportunity to learn it.

We hope this article has inspired you to bring lifelong learning to your office. With benefits like keeping employees longer, sparking more energy in the office, and increased creativity and problem-solving skills, every business should practice lifelong learning!

Encourage Lifelong Learning with These Simple (and free!) TechniquesHave something you want to teach your employees? Enable Education makes it easy for your organization to train your staff. Reach out to us here if you want to maximize your in-house training efforts.

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