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Published on April 3, 2020

What Is Continuing Education And Why Is It Important?

What Is Continuing Education And Why Is It Important?

In our world of information overload, the question “what is continuing education?” is a very common one. Depending on the individual and situation, it can also mean a variety of things that range across the education spectrum.

What Is Continuing Education?

Continuing education is an all-encompassing term that describes a variety of formal and informal learning activities and methods.

For example, at one end of the spectrum, we have courses and certifications that enabled you to further develop your skills and knowledge in specific areas of your career or profession. At the other end of the spectrum, we have much simpler activities such as reading or attending seminars which you can also utilize to great effect to continue educating yourself.

There is no right or wrong option here. The real goal is figuring out which option works best for you and how you can apply it to your daily life.

In the end, self-education comes down to your pursuit of acquiring knowledge or developing skills.

Keep in mind that continuing education ranges from getting the requirements to take that next step in your professional life, to learning and pursuing research based on your interests.

Throughout the process of education, we begin to adopt the idea that we can only learn from authority figures, such as people with the appropriate credentials and accolades, or those who are given the title of teacher or professor.

This is an outdated opinion, especially given the contemporary world where most people already have access to so much relevant information at the tip of their fingertips.

There is something that can be learned from everyone and every experience that you have in your life. But to begin grasping those lessons, you first need to appreciate them.

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Imagine this scenario:

You are walking down the street in your home town and somebody stops you to have a quick conversation. However, you think you are busy so you avoid them. This is an unfortunately common occurrence for a lot of individuals.

If you walk around thinking that you are better than other people, or as though you are too busy to make time for them, you are going to miss out on many potentially important lessons.

This is why an attitude of gratitude is becoming increasingly important. If we can learn to adopt an attitude of gratitude, we are going to become more receptive to the lessons around us.

This enables us to better answer the question we started with:

What is continuing education?

It is being open to the opportunities that the universe presents us so that we can continue to learn.

Imagine if you could not only retain what you were learning every day but also build on that knowledge. Think about the impact that would have on your life.

Why Is Continuing Education Important?

Now that we have a better understanding of the answer to the two questions mentioned earlier, it is time to discuss why all of these are important.

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After all, if we do not understand why continuing education is important, we are more likely to lose motivation, which is an obstacle that we would prefer to avoid.[1]

Compliance With Professional Standards

For professionals and workers who are required to stay up to date with their knowledge and skillsets, the need for continuing education is quite clear. This type of education enables them to comply with the laws, standards, and certifications that allow them to remain licensed and working within their profession.

They need these opportunities to start a career in their field of interest. Continuing education allows them to become more qualified so that they can progress to higher levels within their profession and gain more income, freedom, or responsibility.

Learning More About What You Are Passionate About

However, for other individuals, continuing education has another importance. Continuing education enables people to learn more about the things they are passionate about.

This impact can take effect in a variety of different ways. Continually educating yourself could give you the confidence boost you need and serve as a foundation for the next step you want to take in a given area of knowledge.

Sometimes people are not yet fully aware of their passions in life. Reading this article can help you find yours: How To Find and Develop Your Passions.

Opportunities to Meet People

Another significance of continuing education is that it presents opportunities to meet other people. In a world that puts high importance on having a wide social network, continuing education becomes very useful. Even if you are just making new friends in your field, it can have a significant impact on your path towards your education.

Finally, and possibly the most important reason is that continuing education allows you to learn about the things that you have an innate curiosity for. It allows you to begin pursuing your passions and directing yourself towards the future that you would enjoy bringing into reality.

Develop an Attitude of Gratitude for Continuous Learning

Now let us shift from our original question of “what is continuing education?” to “how do we develop attitudes of gratitude?” for a brief moment.

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In the next section, we will quickly examine why this is an important component of our answer to the first question.

There are a few ways to begin working towards embodying an attitude of gratitude, and you can pick and choose the attitudes that resonate with you the most.

Here are a few examples that you may consider:

1. Take the Time to Meditate

Meditation is one way for people to begin developing more gratitude within themselves. This may seem counterintuitive at first. But how does doing nothing develop a grateful attitude? You are right, it does not.

However, it does put us in a great headspace, which encourages us to become more mindful in our daily practices and make us more receptive to gratitude.

If you want to learn more about meditation, this quick guide may help you: The 5-minute Guide to Meditation: Anywhere, Anytime.

2. Express Your Gratitude Verbally

Another straightforward way to begin developing an attitude of gratitude is to begin talking about it more and expressing your gratefulness. You can express it to someone for something as simple as them opening up a door for you. Saying thank you goes a long way for you and others.

By acting gratefully, you will begin having these emotions more regularly, which can eventually integrate into your normal actions.

3. Create a Daily Gratitude Journal

Another method is to keep a gratitude journal. This brings your gratitude from your mind to your external environment where you can more effectively visualize what it is that you are thankful for.

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For example, say you are thankful for your family. The next time one of them gets on your nerves, read your journal so you will be more reminded of how you are grateful for them, even though they annoyed you.

Overall,  these activities instill the mindset of being receptive to the lessons around you so that you can fully absorb them and grow into a better person.

If you like more tips on how to develop an attitude of gratitude, check out this article: 40 Simple Ways To Practice Gratitude

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, you now have a better answer to the question of continuing education now that you have read this article.

By now, you should not only understand what an attitude of gratitude is, but also how you can begin developing it in your own life. Hopefully, through these efforts, you will prime yourself to become more receptive to new learning experiences in your daily life and never miss another opportunity to grow as an individual.

Finally, you should now know the importance of continual education, both from a professional standpoint and a personal one. Through this, you can truly take your life wherever you would like it to go and become whatever type of person you wish to become.

Your future is in your hands.

Want to Know More About Continuing Education?

Featured photo credit: Clay Banks via unsplash.com

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Mark Lynch

Featured Life-Balance, & Personal Development Author

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Published on January 19, 2021

What Is Learning by Doing And Why Is It Effective?

What Is Learning by Doing And Why Is It Effective?

The list of teaching techniques is ever-expanding as there are multiple ways for us to gain knowledge. As a result, there are multiple techniques out there that leverage those particular skills. One such technique I want to share with you is learning by doing.

This technique has been around for a long time, and it’s a surprisingly effective one thanks to the various perks that come with it. Also called experiential learning, I’ll be sharing with you my knowledge on the subject, what it is deep down, and why it’s such an effective learning tool.

What Is Learning by Doing?

Learning by doing is the simple idea that we are capable of learning more about something when we perform the action.

For example, say you’re looking to play a musical instrument and were wondering how all of them sound and mix. In most other techniques, you’d be playing the instrument all by yourself in a studio. Learning by doing instead gives you a basic understanding of how to play the instrument and puts you up on a stage to play an improvised piece with other musicians.

Another way to think about this is by taking a more active approach to something as opposed to you passively learning about it. The argument is that active engagement provides deeper learning and that it’s okay if you make mistakes as you learn from those as well. This mentality brought forth a new name for this technique: experiential learning.

What Are Its Benefits?

Experimental learning has been around for eons now. It was Aristotle who wrote that “for the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.”

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Over the years, that way of thinking changed and developed and for a time was lost once computers were integrated into schools. It’s only been in recent years where schools have adopted this technique again. It’s clear why teachers are encouraging this as it offers five big benefits.

1. It’s More Engaging and More Memorable

The first benefit is that it’s more engaging and memorable. Since this requires action on your part, you’re not going to be able to weaken your performance. This is big since, traditionally, you’d learn from lectures, books, or articles, and learners could easily read—or not read—the text and walk away with no knowledge at all from it.

When you are forced into a situation where you have to do what you need to learn, it’s easier to remember those things. Every action provides personalized learning experiences, and it’s where motivation is built. That motivation connects to what is learned and felt. It teaches that learning is relevant and meaningful.

Beyond that, this experience allows the opportunity for learners to go through the learning cycle that involves extended effort, mistakes, and reflection, followed by refinement of strategies.

2. It Is More Personal

Stemming from the reason mentioned above, learning by doing offers a personal experience. Referring back to the cycle of effort, mistakes, reflection, and refinement, this cycle is only possible through personal emotions—the motivation and realization of knowledge of a particular topic tying into your values and ideals.

This connection is powerful and thus, offers a richer experience than reading from a book or articles such as this one. That personal connection is more important as it encourages exploration and curiosity from learners.

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If you’ve always wanted to bake a cake or cook a unique dish, you could read up on it or watch a video. Or you could get the ingredients and start going through it all yourself. Even if you make mistakes now, you have a better grasp of what to do for the next time you try it out. You’re also more invested in that since that’s food that you made with the intention of you having it.

3. It Is Community-Connected

Learning by doing involves the world at large rather than sitting alone in your room or a library stuck in a book. Since the whole city is your classroom technically, you’re able to leverage all kinds of things. You’re able to gather local assets and partners and connect local issues to larger global themes.

This leans more into the personal aspect that this technique encourages. You are part of a community, and this form of learning allows you to interact more and make a connection with it—not necessarily with the residents but certainly the environment around it.

4. It’s More Integrated Into People’s Lives

This form of learning is deeply integrated into our lives as well. Deep learning occurs best when learners can apply what they’ve learned in a classroom setting to answer questions around them that they care about.

Even though there is a lot of information out there, people are still always asking “what’s in it for me?” Even when it comes to learning, people will be more interested if they know that what they are learning is vital to their very way of life in some fashion. It’s forgettable if they’re unable to tie knowledge in with personal aspects of their lives. Thus, experiential learning makes the application of knowledge simpler.

5. It Builds Success Skills

The final benefit of learning by doing is that it builds up your skills for success. Learning by doing encourages you to step out of your comfort zone, discover something new, and try things out for the first time. You’re bound to make a mistake or two, but this technique doesn’t shame you for it.

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As a result, learning by doing can build your initiative for new things as well as persistence towards growth and development in a field. This could also lead to team management and collaboration skill growth. These are all vital things in personal growth as we move towards the future.

How to Get Started

While all these perks are helpful for you, how are you going to start? Well, there are several different approaches that you can take with this. Here are some of them that come to mind.

1. Low-Stakes Quizzes

In classroom settings, one way to introduce this technique is to have many low-stakes quizzes. These quizzes aren’t based on assessing one’s performance. Instead, these quizzes are designed to have learners engage with the content and to generate the learned information themselves.

Research shows that this method is an effective learning technique.[1] It allows students to improve their understanding and recall and promotes the “transfer” of knowledge to other settings.

2. Type of Mental Doing

Another approach is one that Psychologist Rich Mayer put together. According to him, learning is a generative activity.[2] His knowledge and the research done in his lab at Santa Barbara have repeatedly shown that we gain expertise by doing an action, but the action is based on what we already know.

For example, say you want to learn more about the Soviet dictator Stalin. All you need to do is link what you do know—that Stalin was a dictator—and link it to what you want to learn and retain. Stalin grew up in Georgia, killed millions of people, centralized power in Russia, and assisted in the victory of World War 2. This technique even applies to the most simple of memory tasks as our brain learns and relearns.

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3. Other Mental Activities

The final method I’ll share with you is taking the literal approach—getting out there and getting your hands dirty so to speak. But how you go about that is up to you. You could try reading an article and then going out and applying it immediately—like you could with this article. Or maybe you could find further engagement through puzzles or making a game out of the activity that you’re doing.

For example, if you wanted to learn about animal behavior patterns, you can read about them, go out to watch animals, and see if they perform the specific behaviors that you read about.

Final Thoughts

Learning by doing encourages active engagement with available materials and forces you to work harder to remember the material. It’s an effective technique because it helps ingrain knowledge into your memory. After all, you have a deeper personal connection to that knowledge, and you’ll be more motivated to use it in the future.

With that in mind, I encourage you to take what you’ve learned from reading this article and apply that in the real world. It’s only going to benefit you as you grow.

Featured photo credit: Van Tay Media via unsplash.com

Reference

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