Top tips for learning at work

Learning at work is important for all sorts of reasons. In this post we look at a few, and share our tips for getting learning done in the workplace.

In a world that is always changing, ongoing learning is no longer an option – it’s a necessity. Or as Joyce Russell, a career coach, put it: “learning is not just a nice thing to do – it is essential for staying on top of things” (Washington Post).

Keeping up your learning can help you stay ahead of change caused by globalisation or automation. It can also set you above other candidates when it comes to career changes, promotions or applications for further study, and it can even be good for your long-term health (Harvard Business Review).

So how exactly do you set about learning during work hours?

Explain to your manager what and why you’re learning

By explaining to your manager, or colleagues, what and why you’re learning, you can resolve feeling guilty about taking time to learn. Try to explain why this learning is important for you and how it might benefit your organisation. For more help on this, check out our other post How to convince your boss you should take a FutureLearn course during work.

Put aside the time and be strict about protecting it

During a busy work day it can be really difficult to set aside time to learn. You might feel guilty as if you’re not doing ‘proper’ work or you might feel like learning isn’t a priority. But set aside your guilt and try to be strict – block out time in your calendar, say no to that unnecessary meeting, set your phone to silent and close your inbox. In the long run your employer (and career) will thank you.

Try to find a subject that’s good for work, and good for you

You’re far more likely to stick to your learning if you find the subject interesting. Dedicate some time finding a topic that captures your attention as well as being helpful for your career or personal development. 

Set yourself a goal

Many of us don’t pursue learning for the sake of it – we’re usually learning to achieve something specific like a promotion or career change. While goals like these are helpful, they can often seem quite distant and intangible. So try setting yourself a smaller, more concrete goal. It might be time-related, eg ‘I want to spend 3 hours learning this week’, or subject-related, eg ‘I want to understand the basics of big data analytics’. Achieving these smaller goals will help you feel satisfied with your progress as you work towards something bigger.

Make yourself accountable

If you’re worried you’re still not going to stick to your learning, try to find someone to hold you to account. A friend or colleague can check keep checking in with you to help you keep going. Alternatively, if you’re feeling really brave, you could try agreeing a forfeit if you fail to complete any learning. How does making the team tea for a month sound?

Share what you’ve learnt

Finally, one of the most important things in creating a learning culture: sharing. If we want to try to encourage as many people as possible to learn at work, then we need to talk about learning more. Try doing a presentation to your peers about what you’ve learnt, or share your own advice for keeping up your learning.

Have you got tips for learning at work? Let us know in the comments.

Category Learning

Comments (51)


  • Helen Esteban

    A great, concise article highlighting the directions that learning can create impact

  • Rihana

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    By the way, I am a fan of Future Learn Blog.

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  • Nevena M

    Great article! Useful tips that can improve the influence of your progress at work. Never stop learning, that is what I would say to anyone.

  • olatunde mola

    Leave a comment…hi future learn, i really appreciate your mail on tips for learning at work;it’s really helpful.thank you very much.

  • Azam

    This course is very important for the citizens of Pakistan

    • rosa indica

      From where u r in Pakistan? Hv u joined the course?

  • Walaa

    The course is very nice but ihave aproblem in thr rules

  • Myo Thu Aung

    Thank,I know delay.Courses is very good i like.

  • sabir

    thank alot for all this useful tips and topics .

  • Ekaterina

    Thank you so much for the tips. But my problem is not connected with the lack of time because of my being busy at work. After I had subscribed for the lessons I had to change my learning plans, because my personal situation had changed. I had to leave for several weeks. If possible I would like to re-subscribe for the course.

  • Nyasha Pikirayi

    Excellent – thanks future learn for the excellent advice.

    Do it now – Start learning now – Do not procrastinate – do the on line courses

  • suhayba

    i hope to be mamager

  • Jonathan G. Enders

    Thanks it was good reading these tips. They are very helpful. Especially setting specific goals and sharing what I Iearn. I am planning to take several of the courses on your site.

  • wycliffe omubayi

    I come to find there’s more benefits by connecting with FutureLearning,top on the list there’s benefit to stay linked to big data,which from it offers opportunities for promotion.And of course another thing is knowledge & experience to provide solution

  • Aregawi Abrha

    I am very proud of your effort and considering that I always go to the internet cafe to get knowledge from you .

  • Omod. Kwot

    I. Really. Help. Me. To. Shape. My. Learning. Skill. I am. Achieve. The. Course. Target. And. Acquire. Great knowledge


    am happy today because i now know that to stay top i need to learn which now makes me to know that learning never ends

  • Tina May Thwin Oo

    The tips are very encouraging. I will fix sometime for learning and try to stick on the schedule.

  • Noluthando

    The course is very useful it will help me to deliver quality services to the children and youth i’m working with.

  • Petrus Haneb

    Wow this really help me to shape my learning skills at work because of contantly changing and developing world.Make always precious time your learning habbit dont losse hope and back slide to old history go further with futurelearn its a good thing to do

  • Tamanna Begem

    Tips are very nice and i think effective. I try my best to follow this tips and tricks 🙂

  • Geof

    Making time for the learning is just the first step. It’s really important to also find time to reflect on what you’ve learned, then to work out how to use that in your life. And if you started by explaining your goal to your boss or someone else, show them what you’ve achieved!

  • Susana

    Thanks so much for your tips to help me continue learning.

  • Priya Narang

    Tips for learning are very motivating and practically possible. Iam very sure if I follow these simple tips I can achieve the course targets and acquire great knowledge.
    Looking forward to the course

  • Sergio Artur Macuacua

    Thanks for the invitation , is my wish learn english, I will stay very happy , Thanks

  • Emmy

    Due to chronic illness I cannot work and sometimes my day to day life is too unpredictable to effectively plan my studying time. Extra important to be strict about the times when I can in fact study!

    If for any reason you find planning hard because you have to be flexible, here are a few tips that work for me:
    1. devide the study time in little blocks, so that it is easier to move them around
    2. choose an early deadline, so that it is not too late to catch up when you’ve had to skip a study moment
    3. between your early deadline and the ‘real’ deadline, plan some ‘catching up’ study time blocks
    4. juggle with your study/catch up blocks – I have found that when study blocks are on my calendar, I find it easier to move them to a better time when something that’s simply more urgent comes up.

    If like me, you need tu study ‘ in between’ times when studying is not an option – try my tips and if you have any of your own, please share!

  • Abayomi Clarkson

    This depends on the type of work you are doing some of are works need concentration and support to client but on the other hand if you are so interesting you can spare few times from your breath and using the toilet you can do some reading

  • Hamet

    Thank you for all helping I like to start in home during my day off every Friday

  • bangodrosta

    Leave a comment…thanks a lot, for give me a opportunity.

  • Ogechi

    Yes, I received the tips for learning at work. They are really helpful. Thanks.

  • Margarita

    I bring with me, at work, short notes, especially about the difficult topics and reread them and make notes again.

  • Swarnim Bhatia

    Yes I find it difficult to continue my PD due to very busy schedule. But I will set some time for it regularly.
    Thanks for your motivating tips.

  • Sishi Du

    I appreciate that you sharing such good tips ,i will try to learn from now on .

  • Abdi

    It is important to learn on line at free time.

  • Ida

    I just found a new job ,as a course consultant in a english training school in a very small city and actually i do have a lot of time to learning ,but i felt inefficient when studying during the work time . And all my colleagues always chatting to each others about losing weight ,shopping . If i am not join them ,i felt myself will be isolated soon .

  • P.b. Hemamalini

    I have completed 6 weeks course Professional development (teaching) . Is there any printed certificate for that?. Or certificate through mail? Please reply. I would like to join healthcare course.

  • sw

    I just learn out of personal curiosity and interests. No way to learn during working hours, but I use the commuting time and lunch break to read the lessons. Big ‘Thank You’ for the video transcripts and for making the site run flawlessly on a Windows Phone!!
    The videos, practice and homework steps of the course have to wait for the weekends.

  • Abel

    An added motivation for my goal. Now I have no excuse if I can manage to avoid saying “Am often just too busy at work.”

  • Williams

    I will like to learn at home

  • Omod. Kwot

    I Will. Be. Interested. In. And. Invited. Them. 2 part. In. The lesson.

  • khawla


  • Richard Gartside


    I am apparently an oddity. None of the courses I am taking relate to my work, I am taking them because they are of interest to me.

    I certainly would not be able to persuade my workplace to let me have time to study courses, I am already in dispute with them over the amount of time I am allowed to take off work.

    • sw

      Exactly same here.

  • Marwa

    Those tips were amazing.They really helped me alot .Thank you for sharing them .

  • Richard Gartside


    I am once again an oddity – none of my courses have anything to do with I do at work. I took them because they were of interest to me.

    And no, my workplace would not see any reason why I should take time out from work to study something that has no bearing on what I do – I am already in dispute with them over allowed time off work.

    I just have to try and cram the courses in where I can in the evening/weeekends

  • Teresa Gallette

    I’m a teacher of English and attending seminars and workshops is essential for our professional development. However, if we just put to sleep the notes we jot down, the time we invested means nothing…. just wasted.
    Triyng new activities or ideas should be a must.

  • Alok Kumar

    I 100 percent agree with the tips you have given above. I have so many work to deal thats why I had completely left the learning with FutureLearn courses. But, I wish to start again the learning and I will. Thank you very much for awaking me up.

  • Carol Braddick

    Good recap of what it takes to establish a new practice. Love the forfeit! I just shared notice of a free webinar colleagues will be interested in and invited them to opt in to a 3 part “bundle”: listen to webinar; convene a short chat immediately after; create the notes to share with other colleagues during that chat and post. We don’t have a forfeit yet but you’ve given me some ideas 🙂 TX

    • Nabina Banerjee

      the tips seems useful and thanks for helping out to find ways for learning. I’ll share my experience after utilising the tips.