We’ve always been told that education is the only thing that people can never take away from us. This is why we are always encouraged to pursue the course we want, become licensed or certified, and land the job of our dreams. However, should educating ourselves have to stop after graduating from university? Should we pursue lifelong learning? What advantages does lifelong learning offer? We’ll talk about these and more as you read on.
What is lifelong learning?
While most people associate learning with formal education in a university or college, lifelong learning focuses on creating and maintaining a positive outlook for professional and personal development. It is, therefore, a type of learning that is self-initiated and generally refers to the form of learning that occurs outside of a learning institution. However, it’s also important to note that lifelong learning is not only limited to formal learning but can also be described as voluntary with the goal to achieve personal fulfillment. A successful approach to lifelong learning recognises the importance and value of formal, non formal, and informal approaches to learning.
Why it’s time to embrace lifelong learning today?
In recent years, lifelong learning has become a more popular concept and more people are adopting it. In fact, the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL) recently published a new report that sets out a vision of education that is future-focused, demanding a shift towards a lifelong learning culture by 2050.
Here are the top reasons why we should embrace lifelong learning today.
1. There is always something new to learn every day
The world is ever changing, and we need to learn new things in order to function effectively and adapt to the many changes that occur around us. This is especially true in terms of technology, where Artificial Intelligence and robotics are widely replacing parts of the workforce. Even in the use of a new phone, a new app, or a new system or process at work or at home, learning new skills have never been so important.
2. Path and purpose
When it comes to path and purpose, ‘college and career readiness’ is often thought of. However, according to several groups like the School Superintendents Association, they are taking another look at the meaning of career readiness and are including the concept of being life ready.
3. Chances for employment
According to Australian labour force trends in the most recent Commonwealth Treasury Intergenerational Report, it’s forecast that people will be working well into their 70s or 80s (Deloitte, 2018). Many of us are working much longer in our lives resulting in the need to upgrade skills along the way.
Statistics say that people today change their jobs 10-15 times throughout their careers. This makes lifelong learning even more important because it helps individuals expand their knowledge and expertise without going back to school.
4. Fulfilling passions
Sometimes, we feel too overwhelmed with work that we need to take some time off and do something that can make us feel relaxed. Lifelong learning helps us in this department by giving us the chance to get busy with doing our passion. There are many options here, including joining the DIY campaign.
Our world was once dependent on people or craftsmen who did a lot of things for us. However, this has changed drastically over the years as people have started learning to do things by themselves. Take for example watching a YouTube video to learn how to fix your bedroom door or how to hatch quail eggs at home. This is simply just one of the advantages of lifelong learning. Imagine the savings you make from being able to do things yourself—plus, the feeling of fulfillment when you’ve done something by yourself.
6. Long life
We’ve heard of a lot of people who stopped learning after retirement. Many of them have developed progressive brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s Disease. According to health research, lifelong learning is one of the keys to staying healthy, especially among seniors. This is why it’s important to keep an active mind throughout, and lifelong learning can certainly help.
7. Increased self-esteem and confidence
In an ever-changing world, we are oftentimes left to wonder if we have what it takes to adapt to the many changes. In fact, we do. But it can help make us more confident about it if we engage in lifelong learning because it equips us with something new—knowledge. When we learn something new, we begin to believe that we can handle just about anything.
Lifelong learning is about embracing our natural desire to learn for adapting to change, enriching and fulfilling our lives.
How to engage in lifelong learning?
We are all engaged in lifelong learning one way or another. But, if you want to ensure that you are truly engaged in it, then here are some helpful tips.
1. Be a wide reader
Don’t ever stop reading. Buy newspapers and magazines or go online and research on things that excite and inspire you. Talk to your friends and ask them what keeps them busy or if they are doing or learning new things.
2. Choose smart company
Be with people who share the same interests as yours. Organise a small group of like-minded people and schedule a meet-up regularly. This is a great way to chat and discuss new things that you may want to take on. For example, you can set up a day for learning a new DIY activity such as planting a garden of rare spices and vegetables. Then, for your next meeting, you can engage in learning to cook a new dish. The sky’s the limit when it comes to learning.
3. Impart your knowledge to others
Who says you have to be a teacher in order to share your knowledge with others? You can most certainly teach other people with the skills you have acquired whatever they may be. If someone comes to you for help on a topic you have knowledge of, then, do it. Who knows? This could be the start of more teaching opportunities and a new career?
4. Join a study group
Before you cringe at the idea of ‘study’, hear us out. This simply means having a group to collaborate with. The members don’t have to share the same likes as you so that you can be open to other topics and lines of interest.
5. Make lifelong learning a priority
It’s easy to say ‘yes, I’ll do it’. But if you keep saying ‘one day’, that day won’t ever come. So, make sure to make it a priority and don’t keep moving ‘the day’. Get up, get that book or magazine, open YouTube, or enrol in a short course, and you’ll see how much waits for you to explore. Engaging in lifelong learning starts today.
Now, more than ever, lifelong learning is truly important, so embrace the lifelong learning journey and seek out opportunities for you to Grow.
In the words of Benjamin Franklin “the doors of wisdom are never shut”.