Continuous learning: necessary in a constantly changing economy

Renate de Jonge

Can we still live without continuous learning? The answer is a wholehearted ‘no’. Continuous learning is a key ingredient of our contemporary world. Developments follow each other up in a high tempo in many industries, think of IT and the financial trade. This means that a degree or certificate quickly loses its value. It factually wasn’t more than a successful snapshot. Already during the completion of a study or education the gained knowledge is expired. Sometimes this is already the case during the training. 

Of course degrees and work experience are still highly important on the job market, but a clear shift is noticeable towards the principle of ‘a life long learning’. Employees keep developing knowledge and skills during their career to keep up to date being a continuously learning professional. 

Knowledge development is a continuous process

Continuously gaining new knowledge is essential in a world where innovation is the norm. The IT-industry is a good example of this. The developments unfold so quickly that a regular course is already outdated before it has even started. Continuous learning offers employees the opportunity to improve their knowledge and skills daily, and to learn exactly that piece of knowledge they need at that moment. In many trades PE-points must be earned annually. PE means Permanent Education and is focussed on maintaining professional knowledge and skills annually.

Standing out from the crowd

More and more professional associations demand their members to continuously upskill. Often they develop their own PE-system for this. In this way they want to maintain and improve the quality of their profession.


This reflects towards customers that the knowledge of a member of the professional association is always up-to-date. A good competitive advantage towards non-members. Examples are the Association of housing corporations and the Association of Security organisations Netherlands. Even serious viticulturists can register in a quality register in which maintaining your knowledge and skills up-to-date annually is obligatory.

The law also demands us to keep learning

Annually obtaining PE-points is regulated by law for some industries. Lawyers must for example obtain a minimum of 20 education points each year. The BIG Law counts for caregivers, in which a registration in the BIG-register is obligatory. This registration creates clarity about the authority of the caregiver. An important requirement for the registration is gaining a certain amount of study points per year. The Law financial supervision (Wet financieel toezicht – Wft) states that professionals in the financial industry annually must obtain PE-points to meet the competence requirements.

Learning using a regular training costs the process of ‘continuous learning’ much time and money. The employee isn’t working for a day or so and a classical education is pricey. Moreover, a group of people get offered the same learning content and it’s difficult to anticipate on the individual educational wishes.

Dukers & Baelemans

One of our customers is Dukers & Baelemans, one of the biggest educators in the financial trade. Dukers & Baelmans believe in personalised learning, in which the learning offer adapts to the learner, who will follow a unique learning plan. All learning tools are focused on helping the learning whenever or wherever it suits the learner best; at home, on the road but also during work. They use an adaptive online learning platform, in which the learning form and learning styles are adapted to the personal preferences of the course taker.

Continuous learning as part of the daily tasks

Even when it’s not regulated by law, every organisation should be convinced of the fact that continuous learning is part of the daily routine of employees, an obvious continuous process. Simply because it’s necessary in our constantly changing economy.