Investing in learning brings many benefits to both your personal and professional life. Many employers prefer to hire someone with advanced education, whether it is from taking certificate courses to earning bachelor’s or master’s degrees. This comes with academic knowledge that is applicable to many careers.
According to CollegeBoard, those who obtain some form of higher education tend to make more money and live healthier lifestyles. Acquiring academic knowledge is great, but what do you do with it once you finish your courses?
Applying what you learn in school to your job is essential to retaining knowledge and skills. Application helps you continue to grow and keeps you on trend, showing your employer you can implement ideas to improve work.
There are many ways you can apply classroom knowledge on the job.
Reflect on Your Academic Knowledge
Reflection happens when you look back on what you learned or what took place and analyzing it so that you avoid repeating mistakes. It also helps you focus on the positive things learned and what did work so you can apply that to future tasks.
Some reports show how reflection helps you stay in charge of how you apply what you have learned, connect learning experiences on the job, and give you an idea of other areas in which you want to explore.
Reflection is more than just thoughts. Actions need to accompany reflection.
Write your reflections in a journal. Review notes and update them when information changes. Set goals based on your reflections.
It is actions like these that will help you follow through with your decisions for applying what you learned.
Seek Opportunities for Continued Practice
After you finish a course or a degree program, the job you land may not automatically be set up to allow implementation of what you studied. In such instances, you can seek out opportunities on your own.
Find ways to weave the academic knowledge gained into your everyday job duties. One example is if you studied computer technology but are working in healthcare, find the time to design or update software programs for your department.
This allows you to do your job while also implementing the new knowledge earned in class.
Another way you can continue to practice what you studied is to teach others.
Teach it To Others
There is no better way to implement your academic knowledge than to teach others what you have learned. Passing on knowledge to co-workers or even upper administration helps you retain information and allows them to stay up-to-date on trends in your field.
To effectively teach others what you learned in school, make sure you create a plan. Map out and organize the lessons you want to share.
Use training aids that are relevant and entertaining. Adapt your teaching style to match the learning styles of your colleagues. Teach them how to reflect and welcome feedback.
Constructive feedback can give you motivation to grow in areas you may not have thought about. Feedback awakens the innovative side in all of us, triggering us to make changes when necessary. It also leads us to new areas of interest for development.
Set Goals for Implementation
Before taking on anything new, it is a clever idea to set goals. You can get distracted along the way unless you have and maintain focus on the end goal or reward. Pick the specific skills you want to implement at work. Write both long-term and short-term goals of how you can apply that knowledge on the job.
To be successful in goal setting, keep them realistic and positive. Make your goals something that can benefit you and others, not something you fear. Make the time frame for each goal appropriate. Furthermore, make sure you have the tools to help you implement your skills.
Figuring out why you want to apply new knowledge and what you hope to accomplish will help you set goals. It helps you figure out what problem you are trying to solve or what task you want to improve.
Participating in group work offers several chances to apply academic knowledge. What you have learned in your studies can be quite different than what your colleagues have learned. Even if you have studied related topics, each of you will have different perspectives.
Group work allows you to showcase your new knowledge. It shows you want the whole team to benefit from your expertise. It also shows you are willing to continue learning from your team. Together, your team can utilize new academic knowledge to garner successful outcomes.
You do not want to come across as the person with all the answers. Find a way to balance your excitement to implement new knowledge with your group’s willingness to accept what you are offering.
Change Your Routine to Include New Knowledge
Your work schedule may be very predictable, the same routine with little flexibility. Being stuck in a routine can make it hard to implement academic knowledge you have learned in college. You can change your routine, however.
Even small changes, like the order in which you complete tasks, can allow room for implementing information you have learned. You may even want to add a half hour at the beginning and end of your day to plan and reflect.
Don’t Try to Implement Everything at Once
This is hard. You are excited about what you learned in school. You know it can work if you implement it just right. You want to get started right away.
Going too fast can lead to negative outcomes.
You did not earn all your education in a rapid amount of time, so don’t try to implement everything you learned right away. Take the time to set goals and objectives. Prepare for both positive and negative outcomes of your implementation.
When applying new academic knowledge, consider the advantages and disadvantages of implementation, and prioritize the applications you wish to make.
Simply applying academic knowledge to your job is not enough. It’s important to analyze your actions and give yourself an honest evaluation, which can give you insight and direction for future applications.