To learn or not to learn?

Investment in your professional development and lifelong learning 

Blog author: Nina Murray, Associate Tutor & Assessor, Inspired2learn

“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn” Alvin Toffler

Blog author: Nina Murray, Associate Tutor & Assessor, Inspired2learn

According to the CMI Lifelong Learning discussion paper “simply to remain employed will require engaging in lifelong learning and regular re-skilling“. I’m sure by now, this isn’t news to anyone, but choosing the most effective learning journey for your lifelong learning can be challenging.

We now have more access to knowledge and resources than ever before, but we also live in an era of information overload. Whatever channel or a platform you use or come across, tons of available (and often free or heavily discounted) courses, workshops, sessions or tasters are screaming at you to get involved, right now of course so you don’t miss out before the discount ends at midnight…it can feel pretty overwhelming.

Investment in your professional development and lifelong learning are paramount to career development and progression, but I truly believe that for it to be right, it needs to be carefully considered and done in alignment with your bigger career plans. Here are some steps that will help you to map out your journey and establish the next steps you need to take:

1) Consider what your ultimate career goals are. You might be in a career or industry that you are happy with and simply want to progress further, you might be at the very exciting start of your career or you might wish to change your career. Whatever your goals, plans or ideas, it is always important to look at the bigger picture and consider where you would like to go. Of course, things can change, and you might change your mind or career direction at some point, but nevertheless if you know what you are aiming for, you will have much better chance to get there than if you are wandering aimlessly.

2) Establish what knowledge, skills, qualification and experience you require for your career plans. If you are not sure what they are, speak to someone who is doing what you want to be doing. Get curious and learn about different people’s journeys to the point you are aiming for as this will help you to get a better idea of the paths you might want to take.

3) Assess what knowledge, skills, qualifications and experience you already have that will help you to move closer to your goal. Self-awareness is important for you to assess yourself as well as to gather feedback from people who know you and will be able to provide you with insights into your strengths and areas of opportunity for development in an honest way. This way, you will get a well-rounded view or where you are in relation to your career goal.

4) Identify the gaps. Now that you have an idea where you would like to go, you know the level of knowledge, skills, qualifications and experience required for you to get there and you established the level of your existing abilities – it’s time to focus on what you need to continue to build on what you have and continue to progress to your goal. What do you need to learn in order to fulfil the gap between where you and where you are heading?

5) Consider transferable skills. Regardless of the industry or career path you are aiming for, in most cases there are always skills that are transferable and building on them will help you not just with the goal you have in mind now, but throughout your career. Skills like leadership, management or coaching are key across all industries and businesses and regardless of the starting point – when you get to a certain level in your career, they will be necessary for you to continue to progress so don’t forget to consider how you can develop them most effectively.

6) Do your research. Once you know what you need, do thorough research of the avenues, courses and qualifications that will help you to achieve your goal. Don’t just go for the shiniest, most discounted or loudest provider you come across as you might get disappointed. Some important points to consider whilst researching:

Look for credibility: check if the course you want to do it accredited. If so, who with? Is it nationally or globally recognised? If not, can you be sure it will meet the standards you are looking for and that it will be recognised by employers?

Check customer reviews and see who the other clients are; good marketing can sell anything so look for honest opinions of people who worked with this provider to get an honest opinion.

Don’t fall for big numbers: rather than checking how many people sign up for something, check how many people actually complete what they sign up for. This will give you a much better idea of how good and engaging the service really is.

7) Choose the right course and provider for your needs. Yes, at Inspired2learn we are a service provider, but part of our ethos is to ensure we can deliver a tailored service to our customers’ needs and if we feel that our service and your needs are not the perfect match, we would be honest with you. Our aim is to ensure you have a successful and enjoyable journey to qualification that will help you progress your career, not to sign up lots of people who might or might not complete what they signed up for.

8) Don’t be afraid to discuss your needs with the potential service provider. Most qualifications have a variety of levels and lengths available and it can be confusing so in order to make sure you choose the right course for you, discuss your situation and get help in establishing what the most suitable option for you will be.

I hope the steps outlined above will help you get a clearer idea on how to best continue with your lifelong learning and if you are feeling inspired to learn more, why not check out how we can help you on your journey to career development and progression?

If you are planning to expand your leadership and management skills, check out our CMI management & leadership qualifications.

Happy learning, and if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to give us a shout on +44 (0) 1380 888013 or

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