Learning should be both…a means and an end.
That was pretty clear when you were in school. You learned in order to progress through the different classes until you reached your desired graduation level.
Once you were on your own and in a working environment, however, the purpose of learning shifted a bit. You could pursue learning for your own pleasure as well as for advancement. If you intend your learning to help you advance in your career, you need to be sure that what you learn is relevant to your job and that you can actually have the transfer of training occur to the job.
Here are three transfer of training factors that will make your learning steady and worthwhile:
- Set specific, concrete goals.Just sitting down with the latest Harvard Business Review may keep you up on current business news and practices, but it may not target the area you need most. Let’s say you are looking to increase your financial savvy. You will need to take advantage of the resources available to you (articles, books, online research and classes) and make a list of what constitutes financial literacy. Set simple goals like learning what the term “bottom line” really means or the difference between fixed and variable costs. Then learn how to read and interpret a company’s financial statement. Ramp up your learning bit by bit and track your progress as you pass through each step.
- Schedule time.If you truly intend to improve, you can’t let this be a one-month effort. You need to set aside time on a regular basis (once a week before leaving for work or reading while on the exercise bike at the gym every Wednesday and Friday). You no longer have a teacher standing over you or grades as a consequence; it is your own disciplined plan that will keep you on target.
- Make it a habit and integrate your learning into your job.
Bring your newfound learning to the workplace so your efforts to improve your financial acumen will be noticed and valued. Plan, when you’re ready, to meet with your manager to talk about how you can continue to grow your knowledge in this field and how it can support your career development.