By Darryl Robinson-Keys
What is your New Year’s resolution? To exercise more? To eat less butterfingers? Some type of commitment that involves improving your physical health?
What about that muscle between your ears?
It needs exercising, too.
What is your 2016 synaptic strengthening strategy?
My New Year’s resolution for 2016 is to become Google Analytics certified, as well as complete a certified Digital Marketing Management course.
Those are my goals because I am a perpetual learner. I rejoice with each return to the hallowed halls of academia, I crave for accreditation, I aspire to achieve the A+, I am a connoisseur of continuing education.
Here are a few life lessons I have learned from continuing education.
Continual Learning Keeps You Young
When you enter the classroom for a continuing education course, it is reasonably likely a number of your classmates will be younger than you.
That classmate collaboration fosters the sharing of ideas, offering new perspectives for your consideration. It allows you to see the world through the lens of another generation and, in the process, it revitalizes your understanding of what is possible.
As further proof of this, I defy you to find a grey hair on my head.
Continual Learning Fosters New Friendships
For example, as a result of taking the digital strategy and communications management program offered through the University Toronto, I have formed friendships with instructors such as Martin Waxman, Eden Spodek, Alison Garwood-Jones, and Donna Papacosta.
I have had the privilege of connecting with Gini Dietrich, who introduced me to the Spin Sucks community.
Through this community I have had the pleasure of associating with other talented individuals such as Laura Petrolino and Corina Manea, caring people such as Paula Kiger and Anneliz Hannan, insightful people such Danny Brown, Howie Goldfarb, and Shonali Burke, along with other clever crazies such as Kate Nolan and Ken Jacobs, to name just a few.
Learning is an immensely social opportunity to connect with those who genuinely want to impart their knowledge and share their passion with you.
Everyone Loves a Learner
There is an attractive quality about curious people, those who want to know more.
We admire those who are able to balance family with career and still find time to continue with their education.
We are impressed by those who are driven to self-improvement, inspired by their academic ambitions and delighted by their goal to be of more value within our society.
Continual Learning Keeps You Relevant
Reading articles on Mashable, PRDaily, or LinkedIn are great ways of staying aware of day-to-day updates within the industry.
However, continuing educational courses are taught by people who work in the the field.
Courses are structured to provide pertinent, practical case studies used as real-life examples to support the concepts and approaches of the curriculum.
Concepts that can be taken and applied within your job or every day work life to enhance your skill set.
Continual Learning Encourages You to Explore
Learning doesn’t end with the last slide in the deck, courses generously offer copious amounts of extra materials, suggested readings, videos, blogs, and recommended subject matter experts to follow over social.
Far more than can be digested during the span of a course.
As you work your way through this extra material, you may become aware of other opportunities to develop and measure your understanding of concepts that appeal to you.
Case in point, I realized the benefits with pursuing HootSuite, HubSpot, and Google Adwords accreditations as a result of reviewing the added material associated with continuing studies.
Continual Learning Provides a Clarity of Purpose
We are surrounded with disruptions and distractions and there is a constant demand for our attention. Staying focused requires discipline and discipline is a learned trait that requires practice and relies on diligence.
Continual learning acts as a sharpening tool to help us hone our skills and remain successful.
I hope your New Year offers you new insights to learning, new means of polishing your skills, and new ideas on how to advance your academic interests.
Here is list of learning sites to help you along the way:
- University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies
- Ryerson University Continuing Education
- Harvard University Continuing Education
- HootSuite University
- HubSpot Academy
- TED talks
- Code academy
- Spin Sucks MasterClass
How do you provide yourself continual learning?