Graduates, Your Life-Long Learning Journey Begins Now

Graduation season has arrived. As I sign the cards, wrap the gifts and write the checks for our dear friends graduating, I wonder if they realize that in many ways, their journeys are just beginning?


In 2013+ we all must have the mindset of life-long learners. A given degree, whether from high school, an undergraduate degree, or a prestigious MBA, provides an important milestone in the learning journey, but by no means a landing point. Most companies offer internal (and external) opportunities to build technical and/or functional skills, as well as leadership skills. Formal education serves as the launching point, not the ending point for the learning.

Here is a real life example…A gentleman in the training class I helped facilitate for a client last week works in a technical training center. Let’s call him Bob (not his real name). Bob helps others build skills to enhance their career within his company.

Bob is new to this role at the technical training center for his company. At first, he described his role as an instructor. But as our leadership training progressed last week, Bob’s mindset changed. He realized he should view his role as a facilitator of learning. This may sound subtle, but it is actually very meaningful.

Here’s why:

  • An instructor holds all the knowledge, ready to impart it to class participants. A facilitator of learning guides participants through the process and draws learning experiences out from the participants along the way.
  • An instructor feels pressure to have all the answers to every question. A facilitator of learning leverages the collective knowledge and experience from everyone in the class. He/she realizes the answer to a question could come from anyone in the room with equal credibility.
  • An instructor mindset often influences through authority. A facilitator of learning mindset often influences by focusing on the needs of others.

I encourage everyone reading this to stop for a few minutes and take inventory. Where might you need to change your mindset? Where are you making assumptions that need revisiting? Where do you need to put into practice your skills as a life-long learner and learn some more about yourself?

As you congratulate the graduates in your life, take pause and think about where you are on your own learning journey.

Betsy Winkler is Partner at People Results. She can be reached on Twitter @BetsyWinkler1 or on email at Sign up to receive her and her colleagues’ blog at Current.