Learning and development is an important way to improve your skills and enhance your wellbeing, both in your personal life and in the workplace. With this in mind, here are seven ways to learn, build and improve your skills.
1. Take online courses
Educational courses are one of the most practical ways to learn and develop new skills. Technological advancements mean that it is now possible to take a huge range of courses online from the comfort of your own home. This allows you to complete the course at your own pace and fit study time around your schedule. Online courses are particularly convenient for those with work or other daily commitments that prevent them from attending classroom-based courses. Taking the time to complete online courses is a fantastic way to build your skills and knowledge and put yourself in a better position when applying for promotions or career advancement opportunities. Here are some ideas of highly-recognized online courses that can develop valuable skills and set you apart from the competition in the workplace:
- Master of Applied Statistics – An online statistics masters program will teach you the specialist skills needed to meet the growing demand for statistics and data professionals across a wide range of industries.
- Leadership and Management Certificate – This course teaches a range of advanced skills needed in business management positions. Having this qualification will help you stand out from the competition when applying for the best jobs and put you in a better position when applying for jobs with your current employer.
- Risk Management Professional Certificate – Risk managers are in high demand across a wide range of industries. This course teaches advanced skills in topics including employee injuries, financial risk, and loss exposures.
2. Build your own projects
Creating and building your own projects is an effective way to practice and develop your skills. If you’re a designer then create your own artwork or logos. If you’re a writer then try setting up your own blog or writing your own novel. These projects will help improve your knowledge and skills and can also be used to showcase your abilities to prospective employers. What’s more, many people find project-based learning far more effective than other more traditional learning methods like reading books or having lecture-style teaching sessions.
3. Do research online
The internet is full of valuable information. Doing research and reading online is a great way to build your knowledge of a specific topic and you can even evaluate your skills by taking online quizzes and tests. During your lunch break or relaxation time, try to read content that will educate and introduce you to new skills and ideas. According to Upwork information is not just available in written form, you can also find a huge array of valuable content in the form of webinars, podcasts, and videos produced by industry experts in whatever topic or industry you are interested in. You can also find plenty of online resources providing useful tips and techniques on ways to enhance your skills and build your knowledge.
4. Get advice from others
Learning from others is one of the most effective ways to build your skills and knowledge. Try to dedicate some of your time each day to learn about a specific topic by reading content from experts in the industry. You can also follow influential people on social media sites like Twitter and Linkedin to see what content they are sharing and to read any advice they are offering their followers. Remember that you don’t just have to follow individual people, organizations also offer a wealth of valuable and informative content. If you struggle to find the time to read, then you can always listen to podcasts while you’re in the car on your way to work, out running errands, or doing your daily workout. This is far more productive than just listening to music or TV shows.
5. Join a professional organization
Joining a professional organization can be a fantastic way to develop your skills. Many professional associations and organizations offer training opportunities and help connect professionals with mentors who can offer support and advice. The majority of industries offer numerous professional organizations that you can join. For example, the American Accounting Association (AAA) is a popular association for accounting professionals, American Architectural Foundation (AAF) is often joined by architect professionals, and the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) if a well-known professional organization for those interested in marketing. You also have the option to participate in less formal groups on social media sites like Facebook. Many of these groups offer free training and advice and encourage discussions between members.
6. Volunteer your spare time
There are many charities and organizations that welcome volunteers, even when they have limited skills or knowledge. For that reason, volunteering presents a great opportunity to learn new skills and discover new ways of doing things. Volunteering offers a number of additional benefits. Firstly, it gives you the chance to give something back to society and make a real difference to the lives of others. Many studies have found that helping others is an effective way to boost your own mood and give yourself a renewed sense of purpose and meaning. This is because your brain reduces ‘feel good’ endorphins when you help others which has been shown to reduce negative emotions along with feelings of stress and anxiety. Some popular places to volunteer include – elderly care homes, animal shelters, and educational establishments.
7. Attend events
Attending events is another great way to learn new skills, develop your knowledge, and build your professional network. Most events have industry professional speakers who offer valuable advice and information on specific topics. You will also have the opportunity to ask any questions you might have and get expert recommendations. Many companies sponsor and hold local events, so make sure you keep an eye out for events in your area and industry. Co-working spaces also tend to host regular networking events and functions.