How to Keep Learning At Every Stage of Your Life


Learning is a lifelong endeavor. But it is not the same endeavor all your life long. Your brain changes over the course of time, and so does your social and physical environment. In each phase of life, however, six physical and environmental factors are crucial to learning—sleep; exercise; diet; support for physical and mental health; opportunities for mastery; and safety to fail.

Physical Needs
Sleep. The effects of sleep on learning are direct and immediate. Sleep is so crucial to the processes of learning, memory, judgment and insight, that it should be factored into any educational or creative project plan. Exercise. Exercise improves mood, decision-making and other psychological functions, which facilitates learning and the ability to use what is learned. Strength, aerobic and balance/control exercises like yoga and tai chi are all helpful. Heart-Healthy Diet. The mechanisms here aren’t well understood, but a body of evidence shows striking effects of a heart-healthy diet on cognitive performance, particularly in later life.

Environmental Needs
Support for physical and mental health. If a person’s environment does not support their well-being, their capacity to learn will be diminished. Basics include quality food, health care, space and time for exercise and sleep, as well as social norms that encourage healthy habits, and practical help when needed. Opportunities for mastery. Experiences of mastery teach people that they can learn, that the initial state of helplessness or confusion in the face of a new challenge will dissipate and be replaced by competence. A healthy learning environment, therefore, provides plentiful and diverse opportunities for people to experience mastery. Safety to fail. No one achieves mastery—at crawling, coding or anything else—without some initial awkwardness. Learning inevitably involves getting it wrong, taking too long, forgetting key things, making poor choices. If these experiences are punished or made shameful, learning will be impeded, as extensive research by our colleague Amy Edmondson has shown. An environment that promotes learning is one that destigmatizes and even celebrates the mistakes that come from learning or worthwhile experimentation.

Read the full article here.

Related Insights

The Power of Referrals & a Strong Diversity-Driven Hiring Partner

At HCM Staffing & Consulting, we understand how referrals can make all the difference when finding the right job or filling a role. That’s why we see ourselves not only as a staffing and consulting firm but as your trusted referral partner. With experience spanning many decades and a vast network of contacts, HCM is …

The Power of Referrals & a Strong Diversity-Driven Hiring Partner Read More »


Women In Tech: The Key To Success Post-Pandemic

As leaders in technology gather in person and virtually this week at CES to witness the latest innovations, women in tech should be top of mind—especially given the continuing stresses of the global pandemic. Why? Consider the following: Only 38% of women in technology feel their organization’s commitment to supporting them during the pandemic has …

Women In Tech: The Key To Success Post-Pandemic Read More »


Reflect, Set, Go: Setting Worthwhile Goals For 2022

The new year is here, and our focus is now on what to expect in 2022. Regardless of whether 2021 was a banner year for you – or one of necessary change – I challenge you to do as I advise my clients: create the best version of the life you want in 2022. What …

Reflect, Set, Go: Setting Worthwhile Goals For 2022 Read More »