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Four Opportunities to Learn in Daily Life

Even though we live busy lives, it is possible to find pockets of time throughout the day to upskill. The rise of online training courses and platforms makes it even easier to seize opportunities for learning. After all, being busy does not necessarily mean being productive.

©NEXT Academy, Unsplash


Now that the Circuit Breaker period in Singapore is finally over, people are slowly beginning to go back to life before COVID-19. Of course, some changes are likely here to stay -- for example, online collaboration or working from home might be part of the working world’s new normal.

What COVID-19 did, essentially, was highlight the need for digitalisation. Technology is a key tool to bridge the physical divide -- through online platforms, people were able to connect with each other to chat or complete their work despite not being at the physical workplace.


Digital platforms also provide greater access to a wide range of resources and lessons to upskill and improve oneself. When COVID-19 struck, people had to quickly adapt to changes and learn new processes. By utilising digital platforms and online training courses, people can pick up new and valuable skills that will help them become faster, more efficient and more agile workers.


Singaporeans are known for being busy, clocking in 45 hours of work per week - this makes Singapore the second-hardest working city in the world. As a result, people might lack work-life balance and say they do not have the time to upskill themselves.

Furthermore, many online courses do not take very long to do. Though this would depend on the speed of the learner, most online training courses are not intended to last beyond half an hour or so. For example, Duolingo can be used on-the-go, with people commenting that it can take anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes to complete a lesson.


Here are four opportunities in day-to-day life that will enable one to learn skills without having to sacrifice too much of their free time.


1. During the Commute To Work


Depending on where one stays, the commute to work can be either fifteen minutes or up to an hour. In 2019, the average amount of time people spent commuting to work via public transport was 84 minutes every weekday. This is a perfect chance to squeeze in an online lesson or two. Since this time would already be spent travelling to work, why not gain a new skill that helps you value add in your career?


2. While Having Meals


Of course, this depends very much on one’s dining habits. Some people are social eaters, while others prefer to dine alone. For those who enjoy some quiet time while eating, watching online training courses or videos could be a great accompaniment for lunch or dinner. Even the five minutes spent waiting for that morning cup of coffee to brew could be used to learn.

Even for those who prefer to eat together with friends or colleagues, it is still possible to do some online learning without coming across as rude or standoffish. If the group shares a common topic of interest, then they could all use lunchtime as a way to learn together.


3. When Going to the Toilet


There are some platforms out there that allow you to quiz yourself on various topics to improve your knowledge or memory retention. A common example would be the Basic Theory Test (BTT) apps, which are intended to help people who want to get their driving licenses to remember the right answers to the BTT test. Other examples include Quizlet, which makes use of flashcards and games to help one learn.


The quizzes and games on such platforms are not only engaging, but they also take a very short amount of time to complete -- short enough that one can finish a quiz or game within the time it takes to go to the toilet.


4. Before Going to Bed


Some people have the habit of watching videos on YouTube or social media before they go to sleep. Instead of watching cat videos or another episode of a Netflix show, one could consider catching a quick online webinar or training course before they go to bed.


Furthermore, research has shown that sleeping after learning something will help to improve memory retention, which is good when one is trying to pick up a new skill. Those who face difficulties memorising concepts could consider rearranging their study schedule.


Seizing Opportunities


Singaporeans are known for being busy, clocking in 45 hours of work per week - this makes Singapore the second-hardest working city in the world. As a result, people might lack work-life balance and say they do not have the time to upskill themselves.


However, it is possible to find pockets of time throughout the day, and with the rise of online training courses and platforms, this makes it even easier to seize opportunities for learning. After all, being busy does not necessarily mean being productive.


Even if it is only five minutes a day, over time this will accumulate and eventually, it will pay off. As they say, the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.


By Dawn Chan


#upskill #onlinelearning #onlinecourses

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