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A Summary of

What Motivates Lifelong Learners

John Hagel III
Harvard Business Review
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In an effort to stay ahead of the competition, companies today create lifelong learning programs for their employees, but often fail to motivate them appropriately.

Existing Upskilling Programs

  • Today's lifelong learning programs focus primarily on perfecting existing skills, but in a fast-changing world, this knowledge rapidly becomes outdated.
  • Moreover, it has been known that the main motivator for employees to participate in this type of program is the fear of losing their job, a reason which rarely fosters innovation.

The Passion of the Explorer

  • Instead, lifelong learning programs should broaden the very definition of “learning” to include the creation of _new _knowledge and analytic tools.
  • Such projects would require much more engagement and effort which is why it is imperative that the employees are truly motivated.
  • Deloitte Insights conducted a study to learn how companies can instill the motivation to learn and grow, and found that the “passion of the explorer” is the most powerful stimulus:
    • Explorers achieve impact in a specific domain that excites them.
    • They view unexpected challenges as an opportunity to learn.
    • When confronted with these challenges, explorers will connect with others who can help them achieve even better results.
  • Cultivating curiosity, imagination and creativity is necessary to shift from performing routine tasks to scalable learning, where everyone learns faster together.
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