Abid Ismail was named the new CEO of AXELOS in December 2015, having been Chief Financial Officer since the company was formed in 2013.
In a series of blog posts by Abid that will focus on the different stages of learning, development of knowledge and learning validation, this first post considers the value of continuous learning.
Starting down the path of lifelong learning is principally about one thing: making a difference.
The more you learn, the bigger difference you will make to your own life, your career and to the organizations you work for. And the critical point is that it should never stop: as Einstein said: “Wisdom is not a product of schooling but the lifelong attempt to acquire it.”
At the highest levels of Pan-European government policy, continuous learning is seen as vital. Research conducted in 2015 among the European Union’s member states showed that “the economic crisis, the need for new skills and the demographic changes facing Europe have highlighted the role that adult learning may play in lifelong learning strategies, contributing towards policies that seek to boost competitiveness, employability, social inclusion and active citizenship.”
AXELOS – as a provider of global best practice guidance and qualifications to make individuals and organizations more effective – is enriching the world of continuous learning and, in turn, helping people and institutions make a difference.
And what we’re responsible for isn’t solely academic learning. It’s founded on real experience distilled and shared, showing how particular activities in the outside world have succeeded and how people can benefit from that learning, empowering them to develop and achieve their goals.
For example, our most recent best practice guidance – ITIL® Practitioner – is the work of a collective, “crowd-sourced” approach, something very different from typical learning in the academic sphere. And, equally, this gives us at AXELOS a collective responsibility when suggesting any changes to best practice as it affects how organizations work, their systems and career paths.
Supporting the learning journey
As CEO, I want AXELOS to continue as an environment where people can share their learnings and best practice and allow us to curate new approaches that will become the best practices of the future.
This is about not only acquiring knowledge but also how to apply that knowledge. Continuous learning keeps your skills up-to-date and challenges you in a world that doesn’t stop moving or changing. We’ve recognized this in relation to AXELOS’ best practice guidance and qualifications and so – by popular demand from the practitioner community – created the new Professional Development Programme to help practitioners’ competencies remain current and enhance their career prospects.
As your life and your work becomes busier, it’s about making time to learn and to focus on the things that have an impact. That means fitting in learning as part of your daily routine, attending relevant events, interacting with people, reading, going on training courses and finding new ways to do things.
When I watch my own children – how quickly they process information and ask the right questions – it makes me conscious of the way we approach our own learning. And we must be mindful of the best way for the next generation to learn. The children of today are learning at an even greater pace, with access to so much knowledge and data to help them make decisions of their own, both better informed and more quickly!
The pivotal role for best practice guidance
With the wealth of knowledge available today, it’s even more important to curate, shape and help people find the best practice to use, not just any practice. When captured in a best practice framework, people can have greater trust that the knowledge and techniques have been tried, tested and proven in reality, not just in theory.
And the themes in best practice – such as building and testing a business case in AXELOS’ PRINCE2® guidance for project management – are universal. You might not use the term “business case”, but the principles apply to a multitude of activities. For example, in a business case for building your own house, you need to be sure the building will meet your vision and objectives, that you have support for the project, have obtained appropriate advice, explored and chosen a preferred option and established that it’s affordable and will be value for money.
Above all, people are the key to successful projects and organizations. Consequently, it is an organization-wide responsibility to create a dynamic environment where people have the opportunity to learn every day, consciously or unconsciously, through training and certifications or on the job experience, all with the aim of making a difference.
In his next blog post, Abid will focus on early learning, how young people are learning as digital natives and how this can inform future learning.