Learning is changing at an unprecedented pace, we are writing our own curriculum and drawing upon all the resources available to enable this to happen.

In an ever changing and dynamic workplace the need for ongoing capability building is an essential requirement. As a Learning and Development professional I have a vested interest in both encouraging and facilitating ongoing capability development. Technology, access to education, peer support, and a plethora of tools and websites enables today’s learner to be able to build and develop their skills in a format that  suits an individual’s preferred learning style. There are four broad areas of capability building opportunities highlighted for consideration; formal education, informal learning, peer support and books.

1.Formal Education

Universities today offer a broader range of courses and modes of learning than ever before.  Diving into an MBA as a way of improving a skill set is not necessarily the best option. For many individuals in the midst of their careers looking for capability improvement (and potential career advancement) an MBA can become a significant and onerous task. The financial cost, study stress and pressure on work-life balance may not necessarily deliver the desired outcome. I am a fan of tertiary and formal study. However, there is merit in “dipping the toe in the water” prior to commencing a formal study program. A single subject of study taken either face to face or online will create an opportunity to see how assessments and exams, coursework and reading, balance with all of the other demands in life. Talk to an academic advisor at a tertiary institution, they are very helpful.

 2.Informal Learning

Where were we before TED? The ability to hear and watch some great contemporary minds expound a wide variety of technical, social and business issues is a rich and inspirational method of learning. The availability of the extensive resources of the Khan Academy, Podcasts, MOOCS etc enable individuals to improve their capability at a convenient time and in a convenient media. With the guidance of learning professionals to aggregate the information available, social and online media are a powerful opportunity to improve one’s capability.

  1. Peer Support

Organisations provide both formal and informal opportunities to improve skills and knowledge through the sharing and imparting of knowledge with colleagues, mentors and other contacts. As we know, learning can take place in many ways but the power of anecdotes and experience is an important way for capability to increase and develop. LinkedIn also provides a way by connecting with industry and skill experts who are often happy to share ideas and experience, sometimes as simply as a fifteen minute chat over a cup of coffee.

  1. Books

There are many great books that assist in improving capability. Carnegie, Covey and Robbins are but a few of the authors whose writings have inspired entrepreneurs, business leaders and students. The New York Times and Amazon lists of top selling business books are a great place to start. As is asking around with colleagues and friends. The simple question “what book have you read that really inspired you?” may conjure up a list that will range from autobiographies to children’s novels through to the great works of global literature.

Irrespective of the method of improving ability, the challenge is to actually set aside some time to enable this to happen. Reading, listening and discussing are all methods to improve one’s skills set, knowledge and professional attributes. Learning is changing at an unprecedented pace, we are writing our own curriculum and drawing upon all the resources available to enable this to happen. Enjoy the learning and capability improvement journey and please share your own experiences so that others may build upon your foundations.

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Damien Pigott
Damien Pigott is the Business Development Effectiveness Specialist at Oracle NetSuite, empowering a team of salespeople across the JAPAC region. Damien has a strong background in sales, sales management and learning and development. As a Learning and Development professional he has worked for companies such as Intuit, Fuji Xerox and Central Innovation focusing on creative educational strategies, results focussed coaching and leadership skills development. Damien is a founding member of the Sydney chapter of the Sales Enablement Society and has spoken at a wide range of events in both Australia and internationally. Damien holds degrees in a wide variety of disciplines, from education to theology, but his current academic focus is positive psychology and developing resilience and wellness in salespeople. When not working, studying or facilitating, Damien is a passionate supporter of the GWS Giants in the AFL.