Do you remember life before smartphones? Or before the internet?

That’s when Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp didn’t exist. And searching meant physically looking for something as Google didn’t exist either.

Our day-to-day lives have changed beyond recognition in the past three decades. Typewriters have made way for computers. Tape-recorders are a thing of the past. Digital cameras have replaced old-fashioned film cameras. And hand-painted movie posters have been replaced by digital art.

Learn, unlearn, relearn

Letting go of the old and adopting the new isn’t always easy. But as human beings, we need to learn, unlearn and relearn to keep pace with the rapidly changing world and technology.

Professional skills and jobs that were in demand some decades ago are no longer needed. And many jobs are likely to disappear in the next 20 years.

Professional fields such as IT, education, technology, manufacturing and marketing keep reinventing themselves.

Studies show a lot of skills and job titles that exist today were not there 20 years ago and will not be needed 20 years from now. Artificial Intelligence, contactless machines and automation will change the world drastically in the next decade or so.

Change is the only constant and the only way to keep up with this reality is to learn, unlearn and relearn.

As American writer Alvin Toffler said, “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.”

At the start of our careers or education, we are always excited and keen to learn new things but with time, we lose interest. We tend to hold on to whatever we learn and work relentlessly without focusing on the need to unlearn and relearn.

Unlearning and relearning refers to the process of ditching outdated skills and techniques and diversifying your skillset.

You have to constantly learn, unlearn and relearn to reinvent yourself in the modern world.  For instance, do you remember using Floppy Disks at one time? Nobody uses them anymore.

Cutting-edge technology is now at our fingertips. And the reason we’ve embraced these changes is because of the ability to learn, unlearn and relearn skills.

Resisting the process of unlearning and relearning can hurt our professional growth or the evolution of our business.

The cyclic flow of learn, unlearn and relearn starts as soon as we begin learning new things as a baby. However, the difference between grownups and babies is that babies don’t have any prior habits or knowledge.

They are like clean slates whereas we have experiences and old knowledge which we need to unlearn. By unlearning, we mean the practice of discarding the old knowledge and emptying the space to acquire new knowledge.

The learn, unlearn and relearn process is similar to reinstalling your device OS when the earlier version becomes obsolete or corrupted. When you know the meaning of learn, unlearn and relearn, you can step out of your comfort zone and adopt new ways to stay relevant.


To learn, unlearn and relearn is necessary in the modern professional’s life. By unlearning and relearning, we can revamp our skills and upgrade our knowledge to keep pace with the rapidly changing world.

Work processes and technology are constantly evolving. By letting go of conventional routines, we become better-skilled professionals. However, the ability to unlearn and relearn is not easy as it requires us to shed what we learned in the past.

Harappa Education’s Learning Expertly helps you learn, unlearn and relearn to keep pace with the rapidly changing modern workplace. It teaches you to apply knowledge gained from one experience to other situations. Sign up to begin your learning, unlearning and relearning journey.

Explore topics such as Learning From Experience, the Learning ProcessPeople Management & Kolb’s Learning Cycle from our Harappa Diaries blog section and hone strategically thinking skills in business.

Related articles

Discover more from Harappa with a selection of trending blogs on the latest topics in online learning and career transformation