Learning & Development - Then and now





Long before our world knew and upheld civilization, growing one's career was quite straightforward. Knowledge, skill, and special insight were passed down from one generation to the next through apprenticeships. Young people developed interest in and pursued a trade by working alongside experienced family members and assigned mentors. The craft was therefore learned and mastered through hands-on practice.


As societies progressed, so did the concept of learning and development. When ancient civilizations like Mesopotamia, Egypt, and China birthed some systems of formal education, a new course of growth ensued. It became possible for people to follow knowledge or take up skill beyond the capacity offered by their family or community. Wider opportunities for discovering, learning, and mastering a craft thus emerged.


History tells that the Renaissance period marked the revival of classical knowledge and arts. The wave of innovation and reverence for learning set a new tone – people sought knowledge for the pure pleasure of understanding the world around them. In these times, the idea that learning was not only for practical purposes but also for personal fulfilment became popular.


As society shifted with the rise of factories and mass production, the demand for skilled labour rose. This was the Industrial Revolution, an era that is said to have led to vocational education and training in special skills. During this time, learning and developing skills as a means of advancing in one's trade or interest was widespread. The link between education and economic success thus became more apparent.

Tremendous progress in understanding many fields of endeavour, including the sciences and psychology, are noted of the 20th century. Notable psychologists such as Sigmund Freud and Erik Erikson studied human development, and helped to build the world's understanding of how individuals evolve personally and professionally. Among the many new concepts that started to gain attention were those of identity formation and the impact of early experiences on career choices.


As the world thrust into the digital age, technology became a driving force behind learning and development. For anyone with an internet connection, a treasure trove of knowledge waited. People from all walks of life are now empowered to upskill or reskill according to the demands of an ever-changing job market. A more holistic approach to career development is evident in recent times. Not only is there a need to acquire technical skills; Emotional intelligence, adaptability, and creativity are also key. Added to this, a commitment to lifelong learning is the way to remain relevant and competitive, in a rapidly evolving world.


From ancient apprenticeships to modern-day e-learning, the concept of learning and development has evolved. History has captured its phases, both as stand-alone portraits and tied with other elements on the landscape of man's development.


From the earliest remembrances to now, it is established that one's own practice, performance and resilience make him a greater craftsman. Thus, through learning and development we are empowered – not simply to turn On the light, but to turn it Up.



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