Canada Association of Tourism Employees

Lifelong Studying Is A Important Functionality For TD Professionals

The importance of lifelong learning

Research by the Association for Talent Development (ATD) has found that nearly 60% of high performing companies actively encourage their employees to engage in lifelong learning, and talent development professionals are leaders in promoting, embracing and creating a culture of self-directed or lifelong learning in organizations.

TD professionals are required to model the value of lifelong learning by updating critical knowledge and skills for personal and professional reasons. Taking responsibility for your professional development signals to others that they should do the same.

“A learning culture requires a growth mindset or the belief that people can increase their talent and skills through curiosity and learning,” says the Talent Development Body of Knowledge [1]. “The concept of the growth mindset was developed by Carol Dweck and her research shows that employees with a growth mindset have a willingness to learn and a tendency to accept change, to learn from criticism and to be inspired by the success of others.”

A TD professional with the ability to lifelong or continuous learning needs knowledge of:

  • How the desire to learn can lead to the expansion and development of knowledge and skills over time
  • Resources for professional exploration and lifelong learning for yourself and others

Lifelong learning is one of the 23 skills in the talent development skills model and is part of the personal skills building area. It is characterized by characteristics such as self-motivation, insatiable curiosity and an intelligent willingness to take risks.

What skills does a TD professional need?

“Keeping up with a constantly learning workforce that understands changes in the market, industries and technologies enables companies to innovate and quickly identify and seize opportunities. That creates competitive advantage, ”said Loren Heeringa, Senior Vice President and Chief HR Officer at Land O’Lakes, in ATD’s Lifelong Learning: The Path to Personal and Organizational Performance [2] Research paper.

An effective TD professional must have the following skills:

  • Acquisition of new knowledge through professional training measures for yourself (e.g. participation in specialist conferences, enrollment in courses, self-directed reading and observation of industry trends)
  • Develop, maintain, and use networks for a range of people and groups inside and outside the organization (e.g., influential people and learning and achievement professionals)

“New technologies such as robotics and artificial intelligence, changed work processes and changed purchasing habits of customers make it important for us to encourage people’s willingness to learn,” says Michael Kessler, CLO at BAE Systems, in the ATD report. “We need people who can not only react to change, but are also interested in learning something [the changes] proactive to keep us one step ahead of the game. That is the real strategic differentiator. Because at the end of the day we will fall behind if we don’t move forward. There is no opportunity to sit still when so much is developing. “

Organizations that promote lifelong learning are seeing improvements in employee engagement, business performance, employee retention, and the ability to meet changing business needs. The ATD BEST Award 2019 winners supported lifelong learning through their talent strategies and initiatives. For example, in more than 90% of the winning companies, employees participate in setting their own annual performance goals, and more than 95% of winners create personal development plans for their employees.

“BMO U [a mobile learning platform] unites all the ways in which employees learn – for today’s job, for tomorrow’s career and when they pursue their personal passions, ”said Gina Jeneroux, Chief Learning Officer of the BMO Financial Group, in an article in the TD magazine BEST Award from October 2019. “It helps them build the learning agility they need to be successful.”


There has never been a greater need for learners to be lifelong learners.

“Learning is not just about getting a degree or going to prestigious institutions. Books, online courses, MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), educational programs, podcasts and other resources have never been more extensive and accessible than ever, making it easier than ever to make lifelong learning a habit, “wrote John Coleman. Co-author of Passion & Purpose: Stories From the Best and Brightest Young Business Leaders, in a Harvard Business Review article entitled “Lifelong Learning Is Good For Your Health, Your Wallet And Your Social Life.”


[1] Talent development knowledge base

[2] Lifelong learning: the path to personal and organizational performance

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