As we approach the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), the Industrial Economy is fast making way for the Knowledge Economy. Our access and exposure to knowledge today exponentially surpasses any other time in history. As a result, the modern work world is experiencing disruptions at a remarkable rate. The World Economic Forum’s Future of Work report states that five years from now, over one-third of skills that are considered important in today’s workforce will have changed.
Today, economic value is being created out of knowledge and intangible assets. In our previous post, we spoke about how our ability to accept and act in the face of change is going to impact our success in this economy. Like we discussed in our previous blog, Learning, Unlearning, and Relearning are going to be the key skills for the workforce of the future. Today, we explore how you can make them a part of your life.
The Learning Strategy of the Future
Think about this — how often do you find that a new operating system or a new version of your favorite software or app makes you uncomfortable? Sometimes only because of a change in the interface?
As humans, we are creatures of habit. Our inertia makes us do the things that make us feel good, secure and comfortable, and yet, growth is what we inherently seek. To put it simply — we resist change while we seek growth. And to overcome that is a challenge in itself.
The learning strategy of the future is a simple one — Accept, Adapt, and Adopt. This succinctly sums up the need to embrace change, to have the agility to adapt, and to learn the ability to adopt new things.
The Four Pillars of Learning, Unlearning, and Relearning
Before we begin, let’s look at the ten most important skills for the decade to come starting in 2020. Here they are:
1. Complex problem-solving
2. Cognitive Flexibility
3. Critical Thinking
5. Judgment and Decision Making
6. People Management
7. Coordinating with others
8. Emotional Intelligence
9. Service Orientation
Look closely at the first four in more detail.
These 4 Cs, in fact, lie at the core of solving any modern-day problems. Let’s see how in 3 simple steps:
1. Defining the Problem
In the case of any Complex Problem-solving, a deep understanding of the problem inarguably leads to better solutions. Asking the right questions is a good start to better define the problem statement.
2. Analyzing the Problem
Extensive research is a crucial step in any problem-solving situation. This research can include reading books, journals, and reports to analyze data, and organize findings. This is where Cognitive Flexibility has a huge role to play. This refers to the ability to disengage from one task and respond to another and/or engage with multiple concepts at the same time. It manifests in an ability to learn more quickly, solve problems more creatively, and adapt and respond to new situations more effectively.
3. Evaluating Solutions
This is where Creativity and Critical Thinking come to the forefront. Critical thinking is quite simply the process of evaluating arguments and evidence to reach the most appropriate and valid conclusion/solution. Since critical thinking is a dynamic and reflective process, the ability to unlearn and relearn is crucial to the process.
As you can see, an agile approach to Learning, Unlearning, and Relearning are critical to the 4Cs of problem-solving.
5 ways to Make Learning, Unlearning, and Relearning a Part of Your Life
In this section, we look at five simple and effective ways to make learning an integral part of your everyday life.
1. Adopt a Growth Mindset
Attitudes and their implications on how we behave also represents an important domain of learning. The Learn — Unlearn — Relearn method is the very foundation of the Growth Mindset popularized by Carol Dweck. Her research places people in two different mindsets — a growth mindset or a fixed mindset. People with a fixed mindset believe their talents are innate gifts, while those with a growth mindset believe that talents can be developed through practice, hard work, and collaboration. Advances in neuroscience have established that the brain is far more malleable than we believed. Studies have shown that with practice and strategies, neural networks grow new connections and strengthen existing ones to improve intelligence and brain capacity.
If you want to advance your career in 2020, adopting a growth mindset should be at the top of your list. In Udemy’s 2020 Workplace Learning Trends Report, having a growth mindset was ranked as the most important soft skill for career success.
The right attitude can make all the difference in your approach. Adopt a mindset of curiosity, continuous learning, and critical thinking.
Pro tip: Change your phrasing and language to make ‘yet’ a part of your internal dialogue. According to Carol Dweck, the word can change disparaging sentences into positive ones, promoting growth. So, the next time you say you can’t do something or don’t know something, remember to add a ‘yet’ to the end of the sentence. This linguistic trick works with sentences that include “can’t” or “don’t,” because it reverses the negative connotation.
So, the next time you are tempted to say “I don’t know how to do this”, remember to take a deep breath, and add a “yet” to the end of the sentence.
2. Make Learning a Part of Your Daily Routine
Whether it’s a new language, a new instrument, or a new skill, set aside time to make learning a part of your day and life. Make sure you ritualize this so it’s an indispensable part of your daily routine. If you’re looking for some inspiration, Seth Godin’s blog is a collection of his daily learning and thoughts is a great example.
Try different formats and methods — whether it is to acquire knowledge or to apply it. From books to MOOCs to blogs to podcasts to ebooks, there is no dearth of resources at your disposal.
Pro-tip: You can learn something given just 30 minutes a day. Here are some examples of websites to just get you started:
This is a great resource to learn and build skills in software tools, marketing, design, photography.
2. Big Think
This site helps individuals learn from the world’s experts about scientific breakthroughs, revolutionary business concepts, and more — in short, chunk-sized videos.
This is a website that inspires people to get smarter — by finding the most interesting news on a variety of topics.
Absorbing new information using visuals is a quick and easy way to learn — visual learning means decreased comprehension time and longer retention. On this site, you can pick a topic of your choice and you’ll find an infographic on it — simple, easy, effective.
3. Keep a Learning Journal
Documenting your learning and finding ways to better synthesize, analyze, and present information can be a gamechanger in your learning journey. Keeping a learning journal is a simple and effective method to make sure you do this. Whether you choose to do this offline, digitally, or online, is up to you. The key is to make sure you do it diligently and regularly. It is a great way to develop Critical Thinking that can then lead to effective Problem-solving.
Pro-tip: Use a Reflective-Learning framework such as the one shown below in your learning journal.
4. Create a Process
True learning is the ability to analyze and synthesize divergent ideas. It is therefore necessary to actively reflect on ideas, reorganize, and analyze them to make them easier to retrieve and apply at a later stage.
Create a process for every learning task that you partake in. A good framework for this would be to Reflect, Analyze, Organize, and Share. Like we mentioned in the previous point, whether it’s through a learning journal, a blog, or even a podcast, assimilating and presenting learning is a great way to make learning stick. This, again, is a tool to build Problem-solving and Creativity in your daily life.
Pro-tip: Make change in part of the process itself. It is a subtle way of helping you break a habit. A change in location, for example, is a psychological manipulation that tricks your brain into unlearning by engaging in a new surrounding so you can unlearn one idea and learn another. This instinctively and effectively incorporates the Cognitive Flexibility aspect of your learning routine.
5. Be a Part of a Community
Thanks to the growth of the Internet and social networks, it’s never been easier to surround yourself with a community of like-minded people. Be a part of a community committed to learning and growth — in a field of your choice. The internet has immense potential in its power to connect — be it people and ideas, or people with different perspectives and skills to each other. Make the most of it to uplevel yourself.
At brainsfeed, we are committed to nurturing and enabling such a community.
Our mission is to create a community for true collaboration — a platform that gives you the power to connect and collaborate to create value — for yourself and the community. We have a stellar community of over 4000 carefully vetted researchers and analysts united by a belief in collective intelligence and a deeply personal commitment to learning, collaboration, and connection.
Your Learning Journey
The modern work order challenges our ability to embrace continuous learning in order to stay relevant and move forward. New techniques and technologies are right around the corner, and we can’t afford to let them catch us unaware. We must continue to unlearn, learn, and relearn to actively participate in and contribute to today’s modern, digital workforce.
The need of the hour is that we commit to a quest of updating our knowledge, explore new avenues for collaboration, and retain our sense of curiosity for what’s next. We hope this post is useful in helping you develop a learning, unlearning, and relearning strategy that works for you. Are there any steps that you think should be part of your learning journey? Let us know in the comments below.