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Continuing education and digital learning: this is how motivation works in the brain!

Many already know how self-determined learning doesn't work. So how could it go? Employees are simply given books and digital media in front of their noses and the instruction “So, teach yourself what you need to know”? No, it's not that simple.

Continuing education as the key to success

Lifelong learning and further training are considered the keys to success. With the digital transformation, processes and procedures are constantly changing. An apprenticeship or a degree alone is no longer enough, despite the shortage of skilled workers and the “war for talents”, to benefit from what has been learned throughout one's working life. Instead, employees and employers alike must open up to new knowledge, new approaches, technologies and insights in order to survive in the competition in the (labor) markets.

Digital learning opportunities are on the advance. Nevertheless, there is a discrepancy between the social desirability of digital offers in companies and their actual use:

How do companies see further training

Here are a few figures: In a survey of 1.300 entrepreneurs, the software company Lexware found out what the motives for further training are in companies and what significance digital learning formats have. Most of the entrepreneurs surveyed have received further training in recent years - mostly with the help of e-learning courses and webinars (56,3%) or seminars and courses (48,2%). Almost every fifth respondent (18,7%) stated that they had not participated in any further training measures in the past two years.

44 percent of those surveyed already use digital learning opportunities. If you include entrepreneurs who plan to rely on digital learning opportunities in the future, or at least discuss them, then more than two out of three respondents (70 percent). In addition to professional and social competence (86%), legal and technical issues (46,2%) as well as the use of technology (42,7%) are the main motivators for further professional development. Soft skills and topics for personal development play less of a role than practice-oriented knowledge, which is supposed to be of direct benefit to the company.

What are the advantages of digital learning?

The main advantage of using digital learning offers is the flexibility in terms of location and time (82,9%). Further arguments followed at a certain distance are the topics of access to learning (69,6%), individual learning content (65,3%) and cost savings (64,5%). According to the respondents, the main obstacles to the introduction of digital learning are the lack of digital understanding on the part of employees (29,8%) and the lack of individual support (27,7%).

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Learning is also a part of developing new business ideas success. The main focus is on internet research (70%), followed by specialist media (60%) and, in third place, training formats (40%). The main requirements for further training and learning content are direct applicability (85%) and high practical relevance (88%). In addition, the test persons want compact and efficient communication of knowledge (62,6%).

How does motivation work in the brain?

The fact that digital learning is so successful is certainly also related to how learning works in our brain: First of all, people have to be motivated to change something in their previous situation or to want to learn something. From a neurological point of view, it works like this: In our brain, the limbic system checks everything we are supposed to do to see whether the required behavior promises a reward or at least helps to avoid displeasure. This happens on the basis of past experiences of success or failure.

Say: If you want to educate yourself, this must be attractive because of his previous experience, he must have an incentive to feel a positive, light stress. Only then are we ready to get started. Therefore learning should not be too easy!

Our reward system: We need a learning objective

This is because the neuromodulatory system in the brain controls our receptivity, our motivation and our interest through the release of certain neurotransmitters such as noradrenaline, dopamine, serotonin and acetylcholine. And that only happens when we have a goal in mind while studying that appears to be a reward.

Over time, we learn more and more to reward ourselves - for example, by always setting ourselves new incentives that lead to new rewards. In this way, we continue to learn self-motivated.

Pressure creates fear of failure: When creative learning becomes impossible

On the other hand, too much pressure and stress lead to a sense of threat and fear of failure, thus inhibiting the success of learning. Because then we have the feeling that, despite all the effort no reward.

And all impressions that we associate with fear are stored in the so-called almond kernel, whose task it is to prepare for fight or flight when the stored negative impressions are called up. In this situation it is no longer possible to use knowledge creatively. On the contrary, in the future we will do everything we can to avoid similarly stressful situations.

The practical implementation in the job?

The perfidious: Exam results, certifications and participant voices have one thing in common: They say nothing at all about the learning success. Really! They don't guarantee that the training was really good. Because they say nothing about the practical implementation in the job, and that's what the learning success is ultimately about. Only: that's what counts!

Because they usually only say something about the training itself - the later implementation in everyday work and in the company is almost never included in the evaluation. But that is exactly what would be important to be able to really assess the success of further training.

The perfect learning environment: Practice is the best learning environment!

Reason: You can actually learn best in your usual professional environment or in an environment in which you feel comfortable. This has several reasons, as the research results of the neurobiologists prove:

First of all, we humans actually learn much better on the practical model, instead of just being given knowledge in theory. When learning on the model, you not only have to observe actions, but also understand, supplement and even correct them if necessary. In an optimal learning environment, we feel motivated to try something and, if we make a mistake, try again.

Learning makes you happy!

Natural curiosity acts as an optimal drive: the more often we experience the problem of solving a problem ourselves, the more self-confidence grows.

Because as long as we are in search of something, there is a certain amount of restlessness in our brain. When the problem is solved then, the arousal gives rise to arousal and a sense of satisfaction arises, because certain messenger substances are released in the brain that trigger feelings of happiness.

Leaning for learning instead of learning frustration

In this way you get the greater desire to try something new again. And that's why people learn especially well when they can choose their own learning material based on their previous professional experience.

Because then they can decide for themselves which new experiences they are interested in and can link the experiences made in this way particularly well to the existing knowledge and thus optimally expand their behavioral patterns. Independent learning that builds on our previous professional experience as much as possible is therefore the best form of further education.

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3 answers to "Further training and digital learning: This is how motivation works in the brain!"

  1. Sales (Management) Support says:

    Leadership must convey benefits ...

    I found your post interesting, so I tracked it back to my blog :-) ...

  2. Simone Janson says:

    Freshly blogged: Series - self-determined learning better: That's how learning motivation works!

  3. Competencepartner says:

    Series - Self-determined learning is better: This is how learning motivation works !: So far it has been ...

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