ERGO encourages life-long learning


Focus on digital learning

People & stories, 17.01.2020

Learning doesn’t stop after school and university. Today’s knowledge society requires life-long learning – and offers many possibilities for all types of learning. ERGO encourages learning through comprehensive training programmes.

Nowadays, life-long learning is a fundamental must-have to move around in a society, inspired by globalisation and digitisation, which is subject to continuous rapid transformation. What counts is the willingness to meet constantly changing challenges in all areas of life, to remain open-minded and actively shape your personal, societal and professional environment.

Life-long learning – an opportunity

Who wants to carry on going to school into old age? Views on this have now changed. Life-long learning should not be seen as a necessary burden, but as an opportunity to find out what you personally want in life and to develop and discover new paths and goals. What we learn and how we go about it has also been redefined. The mere accumulation of facts to draw on has become less important than the ability to find creative solutions and to quickly adapt to changing situations. Expanding, exchanging and transforming knowledge are skills that are nowadays in demand.
 
But how does the modern individual learn? Multi-faceted new forms of learning have developed alongside traditional classroom schooling where a teacher stands at the blackboard while students are busy taking notes. They include distance learning and e-learning, as well as learning independently, either at events such as trade fairs and educational trips or with the help of specialist literature, research and tutorials on the internet.

Which form of learning is the right one?

Everyone needs to consider how they like to learn and which type of learning is right for them. The question how to get knowledge into someone’s head and, most importantly, how to make it stay there, is not a new one for education experts, philosophers and neuroscientists.
 
One of the common classifications for types of learning is based on a four-type model: learning by listening and speaking (aural), learning by seeing and observing (visual), learning by touching and feeling (physical) and learning by mental performance and abstraction (intellectual). There are now assumed to be many types that combine the above features. However, factors like motivation and self-assessment or external circumstances such as the learning environment also influence individual learning behaviour.

Learning by reading and listening

“I find reading and listening the best way to learn”, says Birgit Eckenbach-Rehberg, who works in Customer and Sales Service at ERGO. “I also observe how other people handle problems and transfer those learnings to my situations when applicable.”
 
Things that might discourage some people, motivate the mother of three, who has successfully combined career and family. As she puts it, “When I fail, I am all the more motivated to go back and try again until I succeed. I always see an opportunity in failure.” Birgit is interested in any training offered, even if it goes beyond expanding the knowledge that is needed for her job.

Independent learning is also necessary

Her manager encourages his staff to take advantage of training that interests them. Birgit has already been able to attend seminars and workshops on subjects such as career and family, gender issues and diversity. However, it is evident to her that independent learning is also necessary. For instance by reading specialist publications or by doing research on the internet on subjects like coaching for example.
 
Birgit considers life-long learning to be essential. “Our society is constantly changing. We have to adapt to the new requirements through continuous learning. I personally also benefit from it since I am then able to easily adapt to changes in my social environment”, she explains.

Work and learning are linked together

“In today’s knowledge society, work and learning are inseparably linked, which gives a whole new meaning to life-long learning”, explains Verena School, Team Leader Professional Development at ERGO. She is responsible for cross-disciplinary training of ERGO staff, for example in Communication. “Nowadays, work is learning and learning is work”, says the qualified management expert, who was trained as a systematic Change Consultant.
 
“The digital revolution has brought the biggest professional change since the industrial revolution. Flexible working hours and locations and innovation cycles that continuously become shorter are challenging for com-panies and their employees. Long periods of training away from work are on the way out. Learning cycles are getting shorter. Problems have to be solved as soon as they arise.”

ERGO offers digital learning methods

Learning methods at ERGO are increasingly becoming digital. 80 to 90 percent of training is based on electronic learning programmes that get complemented by classroom training to learn how to apply the newly acquired knowledge in action. In the area of knowledge expansion, ERGO takes account of the different types of learning and offers material that can be used visually or aurally, depending on the user's preference.
 
For training, Verena School also believes that failure can be used to positive effect: “We have creative processes that allow failure at an early stage so that the lessons learned can enable problems to be successfully solved in the future. This method is more effective than attempting to achieve perfection immediately and possibly failing at a later stage.”
 
This article first appeared in German on zeit.de on 1 October 2018.