Advertising
Advertising

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This is an outdated opinion, especially given the contemporary world where most people already have access to so much relevant information at the tip of their fingertips.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

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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

Reference

More by this author

Mark Lynch

Featured Life-Balance, & Personal Development Author

13 Essential Personal Qualities for a Successful Life How To Bounce Back From a Failure At Work 20 All-Time Best Motivational Books to Inspire You 6 Keys to Achieving Great Success in Life How to Strive for Continuous Improvement and Growth

Trending in Learning

1 How To Ask the Right Questions For Effective Learning 2 9 Steps to Make Self-Regulated Learning More Effective 3 How To Find Motivation To Learn Anything Outside of Comfort Zone 4 How to Take Constructive Criticism Like a Champ 5 How To Apply the Stages Of Learning (With Free Worksheet)

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Published on April 20, 2021

How To Ask the Right Questions For Effective Learning

How To Ask the Right Questions For Effective Learning

Asking the right questions is basically the magic key to any kind of personal or professional development. Sounds pretty awesome, huh? Unfortunately, many people are afraid to ask questions at all. They often think that they look stupid if they ask too many questions.

Well, funny enough, it’s impossible to move forward without asking questions. How are you supposed to learn anything new if you’re never wondering, “how can I do that?” or “what is required to achieve my desired result?”

But it’s not only about asking others. You must also master the art of asking yourself the right questions. Yes, you read that right. The kind of questions you ask yourself can have a huge impact on your results. And they can, in fact, make the difference between hitting your goals and not moving forward at all.

Alright, so in this article, I’ll cover the question (you see what I mean?): how do I ask the right questions for effective learning?

Why Is Asking the Right Questions Important for Effective Learning?

Before we look at the “how,” let’s first talk about why it’s so important to ask the right questions for effective learning.

1. Questions Lead to Answers

As mentioned before, you can’t learn or move forward without asking questions. Just imagine if you start a new job and you never asked anything at all. Would you ever be able to do a good job?

Sure, you might be lucky and get all your instructions delivered on a silver platter. But even if that’s the case, what will you do with very specific situations that weren’t covered in the instructions? Or what will you do with constructive criticism from your boss?

If you just take that and then only do exactly what your boss said without ever questioning what they really meant, will you really be able to improve your work?

Okay, I think you get the point. You need answers for effective learning and improvement. And the only way to get them is through asking questions.

Advertising

2. Asking the Right Questions Will Help You Be Successful

Asking the right questions will also significantly improve your chances of being successful.

Let’s take another example. Let’s say you want to build your own business. How do you start? That’s right—that’s the first good question to ask yourself. After that, a lot of your success depends on what you’re asking yourself and others.

Now, let’s compare two kinds of questions. Let’s say you get stuck in your business building process. You could ask yourself: “why doesn’t this work for me?” Or you could ask yourself “how can I make this work for me?”

Do you see the difference? The second question is an empowering one that will guide you to success. Of course, you need to be relentless and motivated to actually find a solution. But simply asking yourself this kind of question will significantly improve your chances for success.

The first question, on the other hand, is a rather disempowering one. It puts you in a victim role where you feel sorry for yourself rather than in a position to look for a solution. And have you ever seen someone who’s victimizing themself be successful? I sure haven’t!

3. Communication Is Key for Improvement

Now, let’s quickly look at another important aspect regarding questions addressed to other people.

Good communication is essential for improvement, good relationships, and success. And that can literally be applied to any kind of situation. Be it your job, your business, your marriage, or with your friends, good communication is the foundation for healthy relationships.

Effective communication requires active listening more than anything else. But what does that mean?

It means to ask questions and then actually listen to what the other person has to say. This will not only help you improve your relationship with other people—and, therefore, help you move forward in your professional and personal life—but it will also help you gain a lot of knowledge, which is undoubtedly the most effective kind of learning.

Advertising

People love to talk about themselves. So, you only need to find people who have the answers to your questions and then listen in an active way. And boom, you probably just shortened your learning curve by 50%.

What Is Effective Learning?

Okay, I’d like to quickly touch on one more important thing before we talk about how you can ask the right questions. And that is, “what is effective learning?”

Contrary to common belief, we don’t stop learning after college. In school, we’re basically forced to learn certain topics. But it’s actually after this period that the really interesting learning period starts. Once you’re out of school, you can completely choose what things you want to learn yourself, and this is where effective learning really starts

The best example is laid out in Cal Newport’s book, Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World. In his book, he explains that the only way you can move forward in today’s economy is to learn hard things at a fast pace. He specifically talks about today’s economy because things are changing faster than ever. You can’t stay stuck with 10-year old technology or you’ll soon be left behind in our fast-paced world.

So, this is basically what effective learning means—learning hard and relevant things at a fast pace.

How to Ask the Right Questions for Effective Learning

Alright, so now that you understand the importance of asking the right questions and what effective learning means, let’s put it all together.

So, here’s how to ask the right questions for effective learning.

1. Start by Asking Yourself

As mentioned before, the most important aspect is to actually start by asking yourself the right kind of questions. Pay attention to always ask empowering questions—meaning, questions that are solution-oriented.

These are often “how” questions. For instance:

Advertising

  • “How can I achieve my goal?”
  • “How can I make a better job?”
  • “How can I best use this resource?”

Avoid disempowering, victimizing questions. It’s sometimes hard to even detect those because we’re often asking ourselves these kinds of questions without even noticing.

This usually happens when we’re frustrated with a situation. These kinds of questions focus on why you’re in such a bad situation and absolutely ignore the possibility of a solution. These are often “why” questions. Here are a few examples:

  • “Why did this happen to me?”
  • “Why is everyone else successful except me?”
  • “Why can’t I be lucky for once?”

2. Ask the Right People

Once you’ve managed to ask yourself the right questions, it’s time to focus on what to ask other people. But it’s not only about what to ask. It’s also about whom to address it to.

To promote effective learning, you need to ask the right people. These are people who have gone before you and who have achieved what you want to achieve. It doesn’t even need to be in person. Reading their books and wondering “what made them successful?” is a great way to start. If you can, totally opt in for asking those people in person, though. These can become your mentors or role models who will make effective learning significantly easier.

To find the right people to ask, first determine your goal for this conversation. What do you want to learn? What do you want to achieve with that knowledge? Then, find people who have already achieved that.

3. Ask Open-Ended Questions

Once you have found the right people, it’s important to also phrase your questions the right way. That means asking open-ended questions.

As mentioned before, people love talking about themselves and their achievements. And by asking open-ended questions, you allow them to share as much as possible. This is especially great to start a conversation as it will get you a lot of information right from the get-go. Later down the road, you can ask more specific questions to get the amount of detail you need.

Great open-ended questions are: “how did you achieve (a milestone)?”; “what are the best tools to be successful?” “what helped you be so successful?”

Make sure to enter your specific goal or their success in those questions. For instance, you could ask your boss, “what helped you get promoted after only working for the company for a year?”

Advertising

4. Practice Active Listening

Active listening is an insanely powerful skill. You can “extract” all of a person’s knowledge simply by listening and asking more open-ended questions that allow them to share even more of their experience and knowledge.

Practice it with your friends or spouse. Set an intention of just listening for 10 minutes. During this time, only ask questions that allow them to talk about themselves. Don’t interrupt them and only ask deeper questions after they finished answering.

After that, think about how much you just learned about the other person. Plus, you probably made the other person feel really good and flattered. This in turn will make it easier to get even more answers from them in the future.

Once you feel comfortable, try this with one of your mentors. Believe me, they’ll love you for it, and you’ll get your answers much faster that way.

5. Focus on the Solution

One last point: always focus on the solution when asking any kind of question. This goes for asking yourself but also when asking other people.

Your subconscious will automatically guide you towards what you’re focusing on.[1] If you’re focusing on the risks or on what could go wrong, guess where you’ll end up? Right there!

If you focus on solutions and see struggles as opportunities to learn more, you’ll always end up finding solutions for any kind of problem or issue. So, asking the right questions is all about being solution-oriented and focusing on the opportunities rather than the risks.

Conclusion

Asking the right questions is not only essential for effective learning—aka learning hard things at a fast pace—but it’s also key to improving in any personal or professional area of your life.

There are two important aspects of asking the right questions. The first is about what kind of questions you ask yourself. Make sure to keep them empowering and solution-oriented. This will help guide you to success instead of keeping you stuck with a problem.

The second aspect is to ask the right kind of people to get answers that will help you achieve your goals. Make sure to find people who have gone before you. Then, ask them open-ended questions and practice active listening to learn as much as possible from them.

More Tips on Asking Questions

Featured photo credit: Product School via unsplash.com

Reference

Read Next