Emerging technologies like artificial intelligence have made continued learning more important than ever.
Tim Quinlan, Director of Digital Platform for Learning at Intel, believes that "if you're not learning you're dying," and that credo is what led Quinlan to introduce Intel employees to Degreed, a company aiming to help workers take their personal skills gaps into their own hands.
Degreed is a platform that allows individuals to search for learning resources, organize the educational experiences on their resume and track their progress. Services like PeopleSoft and Reviewsnap provide similar tools for employers, but not individuals. Degreed allows users to log all types of learning — like watching Ted Talks, reading the newspaper or taking an improv class — not just college diplomas or continuing ed classes.
While the platform is free to individuals, employers like Airbnb, Tesla and Intel pay a fee to provide the service to their employees.
Blake explains, "it used to be true that you would learn the majority of what you need to know to be successful in your career from four or five institutions," like schools. "Now, you have to be learning from a diversity of sources over the entirety of your life to stay relevant and to keep pace with innovation."
No matter how you like to learn or what you are passionate about, Blake and Quinlan say it is vital that you continue to hone new skills and continue your professional development. They recommend that people across all professions follow these three tips in order to learn like an Airbnb, Tesla or Intel employee.
Blake suggests that you block off a considerable amount of time each week to learn.
"We need to be spending five to 10 hours per week developing ourselves. If you are working a 40-hour job or a 60-hour job, we need to be spending in addition to that 10 to 15 percent developing ourselves," says Blake.
Even if you are unable to put in 10 hours a week developing your skills, be sure to take time for yourself. Continuing your education is no longer a luxury, explains Quinlan, it is a necessity.
If there is a job you want, find out what specific skills you need to master to excel at that position. Once you know exactly what you need to learn, you can make sure that your time and effort is well-spent towards something that will pay off.
Blake says that one of the most important things about learning is to learn efficiently and with a goal in mind — nothing is more frustrating than working hard to master a skill only to find out that it was unnecessary all along.
Lynda, EdX and Khan Academy are all online resources that provide free classes and tutorials from some of the most prestigious professors and professionals in the world. Quinlan recommends that people take full advantage of all the convenient resources available today.
"You can learn from some pretty sharp folks just in the comfort of your own home" he says. With the added convenience of learning from your couch, there is no excuse not to learn a new skill or brush up on an old one.