New AACSB Report Underscores Benefit of Lifelong Learning to Businesses and Individuals

Career Climbers / 15th May 2018

AACSB International—The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) – today released a new report that demonstrates the best practices academia and businesses are employing to develop a culture of lifelong learning to drive organizational and individual success. “To Empower Learning Over a Lifetime” was developed in partnership with Human Capital Media Research and Advisory Group, the research arm of workforce learning and development magazine Chief Learning Officer.

“As markets are continually disrupted, individuals find themselves needing new skills in new jobs, and being a lifelong learner is critical to their success,” said Thomas R. Robinson, president and CEO of AACSB. “Business schools have to position themselves as institutions that will support learners throughout the course of their careers by offering educational opportunities suitable for every kind of business person, whether that’s a first-year college student or a CEO.”

The report is based on a January 2018 online survey of 424 human resources and talent professionals in the United States who were asked for their opinions on the challenges of instituting a culture of learning at their organizations, and how they’ll meet those challenges to reap the benefits of employee lifelong learning. Four key takeaways summarize the findings:

  • Lifelong learning is important for business: Not only does lifelong learning increase employee satisfaction, engagement, and retention at a time median tenure with current employers is just 5.2 years among employees with at least a college degree; it also enables organizations to better respond to rapidly changing environments. According to 73 percent of survey respondents, lifelong learning is an important or critical part of their organization’s talent strategy.
  • Talent managers are pivoting to strategies that enable and empower learners: These strategies – which often rely on external partners such as professional organizations and education providers – are increasingly structured to empower employees to learn. An overwhelming majority of talent leaders (96 percent) believe employees should be responsible for their own lifelong learning, which has been proven to yield benefits to both the organization and to the individual.
  • Companies support a variety of approaches to lifelong learning, valued for different reasons: Talent managers are seeing an increased importance in credentials such as certificates, certifications, licenses and degrees throughout organization’s hiring and promotion practices, and a majority also see shifts in learning methodologies to gain these credentials, such as a heavier reliance on technology (81 percent), personalization (82 percent), and social learning (77 percent).
  • Effective approaches frequently involve the active engagement and input of managers: Managers – who serve as a key link to developing a culture of learning in any organization – most frequently help foster lifelong learning through mentoring (65 percent) and feedback mechanisms (56 percent), in addition to toolkits and being held accountable for employee development.

To complement the release of “To Empower Learning Over a Lifetime,” AACSB has also issued an industry brief, “Lifelong Learning and Talent Management,” which provides an audit of the current learning landscape, including challenges and opportunities, and examines AACSB’s evolving role at the intersection of business education and business practice in the context of lifelong learning and talent management.

To view AACSB’s complete reports on lifelong learning, visit aacsb.edu/publications/researchreports.

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