World Book Day is on the 23rd of April and reading enthusiasts around the world are already showing their eagerness to celebrate this day. This is a day which aims to instil sustainable reading and learning habits in people around the globe, most especially the youth. The spotlight will also shine directly on the various issues surrounding authors, publishers and other related parties.
Reading is the root of lifelong learning, in much the same way that water is essential for the growth of a plant. It is learning that is essential for our intellectual growth as human beings.
With digital technology on the rise, the way people learn and consume information has completely shifted. Books have now become marginalised with the advent of the internet age having eclipsed the hard copy.
Research shows that only 14% of South Africans are readers of books (watch video here), but why is this percentage so low? While the percentage of readers remains low, the percentage of the South African population that are internet users continues to rise and was sitting at 54% as of January 2019. Read: South African internet users spend much more time online than Americans and Europeans.
So, people would rather spend more time browsing the internet than reading an actual book. According to a recent study by We Are Social and Hootsuite, South Africans spend quite a long time glued to their screens, approximately 8 hours a day as compared to the rest of the world!
The internet has progressively become a common source of entertainment and a learning resource among people. It has made it much easier than ever before to read and create meaningful learning experiences as more books and educational content become digitised.
With World Book Day to celebrate, how can people balance their internet browsing habits whilst maintaining a sustainable reading and learning culture for the various organisations and their own professional development?
1. Find Your Passion
This is where it all starts; your passion drives your willingness to learn. I remember when I started varsity a few years before I became a Digital Marketing Specialist for Wits DigitalCampus, I had initially registered for a Bachelor of Business Sciences.
Times were tough, and I was performing quite badly academically especially in Mathematics which was a prerequisite in my initially chosen qualification. I made the decision to change to a Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting because I felt I was decent at Accounting and was holding onto the hope that things would improve.
Though I thought of myself as good at Accounting, I still wasn’t performing as well as I had hoped and so I changed my degree for a third time to do a Bachelor of Economics. The rapid changes of my qualification had very little effect as I still under-performed. It was in the middle of this ordeal that I realised that we often confuse passion for things we’re good at. During this period of my life I realized that something inside of me had to change.
I concluded that I was not under-performing because I was not clever enough or simply lacked studying skills, the problem was that I lacked passion! I would often drag my feet to open my textbooks and begin the process of reading. I needed to find the passion first and then pursue the learning journey that was in line with the passion.
Truthfully speaking, I only enrolled for the degree because my high school teacher suggested it and told me that I would become a wealthy professional with a Bachelor of Business Sciences qualification.
I completed my Economics degree and I was still not that excited but luckily it would not be a long wait till I found my one true passion in Digital Marketing. Since discovering this passion, I have not had to force myself with self-discipline, hard work and a strict routine to read – I simply want to read more.
My addiction is digital marketing, I continue to read and learn about my passion by looking up news on all things digital, taking online courses and keeping up with global trends. I still continue to look for ways to enhance my professional potential by striving for the best and seeking out growth and at the same time doing what I love.
Read here on how you can find your passion: Living Passionately
2. Have A Growth Mindset
Given the fact that we live in a rapidly changing world, we are out-of-date species continuously updating to an overwhelming and everchanging environment as we learn to survive and grow.
If we were to take it back to the stone age, survival depended on skills such as hunting, making a fire, and even fighting in case we came across wild predatory animals. We needed all these skills, along with other useful ones in order to survive the volatile life in the wild. As technology advances, the means to survive have changed as many skills are becoming obsolete. We no longer rub sticks together or strike a match or even spin the wheel on a cigarette lighter, we simply click the trigger of a gas lighter and we have a flame that burns for as long as we need it to. The sad reality is that the specialist skills we know today and worked so hard to acquire will also become out-dated one day and this can only be remedied by continuously upskilling ourselves. Even the core skills like how to read become modified by the device on which we read – from books to computer monitors, tablets, kindles or cellphones.
We do not need to know how to make a fire and hunt today, but we do need to acquire in-demand relevant skills that can get us hired so that we can afford to keep the lights on and buy groceries, right?
To do this we need a growth mindset so that we can acquire skills that make us relevant in the world of work. A growth mindset makes us more employable and also allows us to meet our survival and leisure needs.
3. Find digital learning that’s suitable for you
Today learning is easier, more fun and cheaper. The digital realm contains rich learning material which comes not only in text but also in audio, video, and games. Some institutions have even introduced Virtual Reality in learning content which is still at its formative stages though steadily revolutionising learning experiences in order to make them more practical, interactive, and engaging.
You no longer have to go to a physical campus to study and gain knowledge, you can now acquire in-demand skills in the comfort of your own living room paying much less at a “Digital Campus” not only in fees but in commuting costs.
The internet contains a wealth of knowledge on many disciplines across the world.
Since we browse the internet at least 8 hours a day in South Africa, we can use some of that time to do research on the best digital learning institutions that offer learning that is relevant, engaging, and immediately applicable professionally. The most exciting thing about digital learning is not only that it is cost-effective, but it also gives you complete control over your learning as you study at your own pace, whenever and wherever!
4. Apply what you learn
Learning without application is meaningless. Imagine reading how to play a certain video game but never actually getting to play it. Would you ever know how to play it? Your reading would have gone to waste, and you will have wasted precious time.
I learnt digital marketing while I was a Corporate Finance Associate, a profession not even closely related to it. To really understand the skills I was learning, I had to teach myself how to develop a simple website just so I that could apply my learning on a live running test subject.
When you learn it is important to have an application strategy in place. Even if you love learning, the ability to regurgitate information is useless unless you can do something with it. Read: Put It Into Practice: 14 Actionable Ways To Implement Your Learning.
As much as World Book Day is about literacy, reading books and celebrating world renowned authors, the true essence of it is really promoting continuous learning. We commend the great authors for writing the stimulating content from which we learn and we celebrate the chance to read them on whichever device we choose.
Digital Marketing Specialist
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