Learn something new every day, and apps that help you do that


You might start your working day by reading some good blogs. In between, you check out the TedTalk that a colleague recommended. Or, like me, you're now addicted to listening to good podcasts. It's a wonderful form to gain new inspiration, it gives energy and it gives you ideas. But how many of these sources are we taking action on?

A new idea only gains real value if you can convert this idea into actions. In this AppTalk I describe:

  • Where you can learn something new online every day;
  • How to organize your learning without getting overwhelmed;
  • And what you can do with all those new ideas that you'll acquire every day.


Because developments in our field move quickly. And online is one of the most important places to keep track of these developments. There we, as professionals, share our knowledge, insights, experiences and ideas. Think of the many valuable TedTalks, active LinkedIn groups and blogs of inspiring thinkers. Keeping up is crucial if you want to continue to do your job well as an HRD professional.

The great thing is that 'online' is one of the most powerful learning environments available to us. And you can also set it up yourself, so that it suits your needs. It's true that you can easily become overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information available. Which may make you think: "not also online, because when I start with that..I already get so much information". But suppose you design your learning in such a way that you're very conscious of all those videos, blogs and articles that come your way every day. That you look at them with attention and focus and try to connect them to your work. That way you learn something new every day. How do you do that? The following four steps can help.


Start focusing your attention. Determine your focus. For example, by thinking about a question that interests you. What are you curious about? Are there things in your work that are going differently than you expected? Or is there a situation in one of your projects that you don't quite understand? Perhaps you 'just' have a desire for new knowledge and want to know and understand something.

Facing the online world with focus will help you feel good about the things you learn. Because you can connect them to actions in your work. You will see opportunities to apply new ideas. To sharpen something in your work with a model. Try out a new way of working. Shed a new light on the way you now involve executives in a project. Or you come up with other questions to ask a colleague or customer.


Are you someone who actively reads blogs? Perhaps you're subscribed to some playlists from Youtube? Or do you receive a few good newsletters every week? These are all places that you've chosen based on your interest. This is often caused by a certain connection with the blogger or organization. You've heard someone speak, met someone, read someone's book and following their blog is a way to stay in the flow of their thoughts. This social approach can be very powerful, also because you've the opportunity to make contact. In addition, there are many online places that can be inspiring for you purely because of the content and the design. I'll mention a few here:

  • Mindtools.com: Here you'll find online courses on leadership;
  • FutureLearn: an endless amount of online courses on all conceivable topics;
  • BigThink.com: articles and videos from 'our great thinkers';
  • GoHighbrow.com: 10-day courses with 5 minutes of work every day. Varying from design thinking to dealing with difficult people;
  • On Blinkist you'll find 15 minute summaries of books;


What might 'learning something new every day' look like? Here's an example of someone who wrote a summary of a book every day for a year. Or someone who has listened to 70 TedTalks in 1 week and has listed 100 learning outcomes for it. With Ennuonline, Joitske and I tweet every month about a specific theme that we are interested in at that moment and we collect the proceeds in a Listly. Sometimes we write a summary blog about the topic in question.

In all these examples, the learning investment per day is relatively small. You read 1 blog, you watch 1 TedTalk, you experiment with 1 tool, you scan 1 website. With the idea of ​​'something every day' you design your own curriculum. You can make this so concrete that you've already thought about which source you'll view on which day for the coming days. In 10 to 15 minutes. Opt for small chunks. An entire book won't work, but the first chapter already sounds more manageable. And really, it helps to get specific about this. Include aspects such as desired result, duration, planning, reminders and interaction with others in your design. Maybe you'll do this for 30 days and then finish the harvest? Every working day after lunch you take 15 minutes for this. You hang out with a colleague in this.


How do you make what you'll learn every day of value? Some ideas you come across are directly applicable in your work. Take that work form that you can use in your workshop tomorrow. Or you've read about the appreciative perspective and you decide to immediately apply it in the upcoming customer conversation. But much of what you'll learn isn't immediately applicable. So what can you do to turn ideas into action?

  • Share new ideas with yourself. A notebook can act as a second memory or as a spark file. Write about it. And look for an arrangement that works for you. A big advantage of taking notes is that you'll recognize patterns that you would otherwise have missed.
  • You can share a gained insight with a few colleagues every day. Send them a message at the start in which you tell them about your plans. And really, it works like a big stick and forces you to get to the core, or what appeals to you (or not) in a source.
  • You can also start sharing publicly. For example, on Reddit you'll find a large group of professionals under the name TodayILearned who share their learning insights on a daily basis.
  • Another fun form could be to take a look at Quora; a website for questions and answers. And to answer there every day a question related to your topic.
  • Not much of a writer? Then consider making a weekly podcast in which you briefly share your insights from the past week. This can be done well with an app like Anchor.

Choose the shape that suits you. And think about which stick behind the door will work for you. In many examples, the social network plays a role. And you can of course continue that line, because how valuable can it be if your network starts responding to learning insights that you share.

This way of learning will certainly require explicit attention in the beginning. That is why making a concrete plan is crucial. Until it becomes part of your daily work routine. In part, "learning something new every day" is about developing a new habit. But that's a blog in itself.

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