Back to school: Refresh your learning

1 September 2016

While the kids will be getting ready to start a new year of learning, what are we all doing at work? Business as usual? September is a great time for us to think about our own learning too – how are we, and the staff in our businesses, developing our skills?

We don’t have the same ‘New Year’ in September as the kids do, and actual New Year is often too tainted with January blues – making September a great time to refresh after the slow summer holiday period. This is a good chance to reflect on our learning – to think about what we have done this year and how we can improve as well as setting some targets for the future.



Here is our checklist for reflecting on your learning and giving yourself a refresh this September:

  1. What have you learnt this year?

Think about particular knowledge and skills, but also what you have improved upon or been able to put into practice. It also doesn’t have to be through formal learning, just anything you have picked up or even taught yourself throughout the year. If you are covering a year this should be a long list, so try to stick to the most important.

  1. How have you learnt this?

Was it on the job or through formal training courses? Which worked better for you? Use this to help work out how you want to approach your learning in the future.

  1. What didn’t you learn?

Maybe you had targets that weren’t met, so think about why this happened – perhaps you never began to learn the right skills, or maybe the knowledge just didn’t sink in. If you can work out what this year’s problem has been then you can fix it for next year.

  1. What are your goals for next year?

Look at what you achieved last year and set yourself some relevant targets which are challenging but not impossible. Making sure your goals are realistic makes it more likely that you will meet them.

  1. Dedicate some time, space and resources to learning

This could be as simple as making sure you log your learning all in one notebook or document. It could mean choosing specific courses or looking for coaching or mentoring from an experienced colleague. However, it is important that you know what and how much you can dedicate to ensuring you can achieve your goals. 

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