Many of us are working from home during the coronavirus pandemic. However, although we’re not in the office, that doesn’t mean that we can’t learn new things.
It’s known that learning is good for our wellbeing. According to the government’s Foresight Challenge Report:
“For children, learning plays an important role in social and cognitive development. The continuation of learning through life has the benefits of enhancing an individual’s self-esteem, encouraging social interaction and a more active life.”
Why does learning help wellbeing?
It pays to try something new, as it helps you feel good about yourself, the world around you, and can even help you advance within your career.
The New Economics Foundation categorises wellbeing as:
- Functioning well
- Experiencing positive relationships
- Having control over our own life
- Having a sense of purpose
Learning has been found to help with all of the above.
Research from the Mental Health Foundation concluded that participants in the Learn 2b programme (a series of community-based adult learning courses) experienced better wellbeing and less severe symptoms of depression and anxiety after finishing the courses.
Experiencing positive relationships
As with many activities, taking courses can help you build positive relationships with the other participants. The shared experience can lead to camaraderie and friendships. Whether in person, over Zoom or in an online forum, these shared experiences still apply.
Having control over your own life
Taking a course or learning new skills in your own time can be very rewarding. It’s something that you (and only you) have control over. In many cases, if you put the work in then you’ll succeed. This success builds confidence and self-esteem.
Having a sense of purpose
Learning often involves having a series of goals to aim for. Setting targets and hitting them can create the feeling of achievement. Research suggests that wellbeing is associated with goal-directed behaviour when the goals are self-generated and fit in with personal values. (Huppert, 2008)
The growth mindset theory was developed by Carol Dweck, who identified two types of people – those with a fixed mindset, and those with a growth mindset.
Someone with a fixed mindset believes that their character, intelligence and creative ability are static traits that cannot be changed. They believe that success comes because of that inherent intelligence, and any failure is a sign of weakness. Because of this, they aim to maintain the illusion of success at all times.
A growth mindset shows a willingness to learn. It is where you allow yourself to fail, so you can learn from past mistakes and not make them again. If you follow this path, you will eventually succeed, feel more resilient and self-confident.
Taking an eLearning course shows a commitment to adopting a growth mindset and can foster a positive cycle. As eLearning courses are engaging and can be taken in instalments whenever is convenient, a learner is far less likely to drop out of the course than if they had to travel. A greater chance of success encourages the learner to forgive themselves if there are any setbacks, keep trying, pass the course, then maybe even take another course.
What learning is right?
The learning you choose needs to be both enjoyable and relevant to you. If you decide to undertake training in a subject or area that doesn’t suit you, then it will become a chore and can lead to more stress.
Deadlines, exams, and the pressure to pass can be harmful if it’s ultimately not something you want to do.
However, any learning you decide to do doesn’t necessarily need to be an academic subject intended to end in a qualification. There is learning you can do specifically for your personal wellbeing.
Why is eLearning so effective?
As with many others, we’re working from home right now. Some of us have been furloughed. This doesn’t mean we have to stop learning, however. Tutor-based training at work may have ceased for the time being, but we now have more time to gain new skills and knowledge than ever before.
While working from home, eLearning can be the ideal way to do this. Due to being available wherever there is internet access, an eLearning course is highly flexible and can be taken anywhere, at any time.
Anyone can take a course based around their current commitments, so won’t need to break off from what they’re doing to attend a class. They can even take the course in bite-sized segments and return to it when convenient.
eLearning can be highly engaging through its interactive features and games. Frequent tests and quizzes during a course increases retention too, as the learner can quickly correct any wrong answers by checking back and finding what they needed to know.
Any skills learned from an eLearning course during the lockdown won’t go anywhere either – they’ll still be valid when we get back to normal.
If you have an interest in eLearning – especially in subjects that help with wellbeing – BounceBack’s suite of eLearning courses on workplace wellbeing, personal resilience, stress management and emotional intelligence can be found on our website at www.bounce-back.com/what-we-offer.