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​What Did You Learn Today?

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​In a conversation on the way home from school with my six-year-old son earlier this week, we talked a lot about learning. His kindergarten class has been spending time lately on more complicated addition and subtraction — or at least more complicated for someone that age — and he is absolutely hooked. From a parent's perspective, it is incredible not only to see what he learns daily and weekly, but also how much sheer enjoyment he is getting out of learning new things. I can only hope he maintains his love of learning as he continues his academic development.

I used the conversation as an opportunity to share with him how fun learning can be as well as the importance of learning at every stage of your life, regardless of whether you are in school, the workforce, retired, or anything in between. I also shared what I had learned that day, which coincidentally related to the great information in the 2019 North American Pulse of Internal Audit report. Although I'm not sure my son followed everything I shared with him, I like to believe he captured at least a nugget of it.

As I reflected on the conversation, one of the things that I realized is that by listening to not only what he learned in school but also how he learned it, that I was actually learning. This is because some of the concepts used to teach some of the fundamentals to students today are presented differently than they were presented when I was in school.

When you think about it, that's the thing about learning: It can come through people of all ages and experience levels. At work, I learn from both my peers as well as team members who are also in earlier stages in their careers. Further, the learning can come through all sorts of channels, be it lecture, interactive training courses, books, web-based training, podcasts, or personal videos uploaded to the internet.

When it comes to learning, I get very excited about going to training events. Before the training, I spend time examining all of the session options and planning which sessions to attend based on whatever skills/topics may be front and center for me at that time. And maybe this says something about me, but when preparing for a multi-day training event, I like to get a new notebook so I can take detailed notes from the sessions I attend and easily reference the information for future use. Although it may be old  school, I retain the information best by writing it down versus typing.

Whether it is taking in the latest thought leadership, reading a book, taking a new course, pursuing a new certification, or taking steps to really understand emerging technologies and how we may be able to leverage them in our professional or personal lives, continuous learning not only helps us be more impactful in our internal audit roles today, but also positions us for increased success in the future. Continuous learning allows us to build quality into our internal audit work products, along with preparing us to address our roles more comprehensively than we may have otherwise.

I hope that with my child I can foster a lifelong love of learning. I also hope I can encourage him to continue to think about things differently and try new things. And honestly, I want the same for myself.

So, what about you? What did you learn today?

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