I am an entrepreneur, and in a technology related industry. As an entrepreneur, a CEO & a managing director, I have transitioned from a small team to a multi-location business with clients across the world. That meant that I had to spend a lot of time traveling, meeting prospects and clients. Whenever I got the opportunity to be at my office, I realised that I had less and less time for working closely with the individuals and the teams in the area of technology.
Also, I had to learn new things about negotiations, reviewing contracts, interacting with customers, people management, conflict management etc. The question on my mind was, ‘how do I keep up on my learning agenda, when my entire working day is consumed by meetings, and after returning home it was about getting into late night calls, attending to emails etc.?’
I fortunately have a driver who drives me between my workplaces and meeting locations, and then back home. I discovered that podcasts, and other micro-learning streams, of which many are free and a few are subscribed, are useful ways of keeping myself updated. They are typically learning bites of 8 minute: audio podcasts, or video podcasts, or short narratives, supported by interesting animations. Podcasts are available in diverse areas — from basic sciences to scientific advances to current affairs, spirituality and entertainment. Plenty of channels are available and are nicely categorised, so that you can narrow down to a category, and further choose only such channels you are interested in. The content gets pushed to your smart phone and gets queued up until you read it, watch it, or listen to it, and then you get the next episode in the stack.
Busy professionals who are in meetings, or traveling from one meeting to the other, may use this time to accomplish incremental learning using the learning nuggets that are pushed and available in a sequence. Mostly, each learning nugget can be completed in one go, but just in case there is an interruption, one can pause it and continue later.
I find this an effective way of learning, because I can quickly get to the relevant content stream and the learning nugget. Many a time, I have found conversational audio podcasts more interesting, as different viewpoints are discussed, and when you are listening, you transform into a keen learner for that duration.
I think in today’s competitive world, this offers an option to ‘learn on the go’!