Nowadays, lifelong learning has become increasingly important to employers and employees. It assists you in achieving personal fulfilment and pleasure. This learning can be related to your interests, hobbies, or professional goals.
In this article, you’ll learn what lifelong learning is all about… Discover the key features with some examples and see why lifelong learning is important.
In these unpredictable times, businesses struggle to stay relevant due to rapid changes in the corporate world. The job description may change without any prior notice. Even if your skill sets for a particular job might not be enough.
What is Lifelong Learning?
It’s a form of self-initiated education that focuses on personal or professional development. In other words, it is the desire and ability to quickly grow and adapt one’s skills to remain employable. Furthermore, it’s generally voluntary and self-motivated.
It’s based on the pursuit to learn more and achieve personal fulfilment. Personal fulfilment and development refer to genuine interests and curiosity, hence these motivations lead us to learn new things.
Lifelong learners seek to strengthen their knowledge and skills for individual and altruistic reasons.
According to Pew Research Center’s study, in the USA, 80% of lifelong learners pursue their knowledge in an area of personal interest, therefore those who learn, do so in order to make their lives more interesting and full.
The Features of Lifelong Learning:
- Cost-free learning (most of the time)
- Usually informal. Sometimes, formal as well
- Self-taught or instruction that is sought
- Motivation is out of personal development or interest.
Examples of Lifelong Learning:
You may choose from an array of learning initiatives-
- Developing a new skill: sewing, cooking, programming, public speaking, etc.
Self-taught study: learning a foreign language, researching a topic of interest, etc.
- Learning a new sport or activity: learning to play football or an instrument, joining martial arts, doing yoga, etc.
- Learning to use a new technology: smart devices, various software applications, etc.
Acquiring new knowledge: taking part in an online skills course or classroom-based course.
- Soft skill training: gaining experience in creative thinking, teamwork, decision-making, flexibility, problem-solving, time management, and so on.
Why is Lifelong Learning Important?
Incorporating lifelong learning can provide a variety of long-term benefits, it includes:
- Improve Self-confidence
Two factors influence your level of self-confidence: your faith in yourself and your level of competence. The latter is determined by your knowledge, experience, and skills. In both your personal and professional life, developing new knowledge or skills will most likely will boost your self-confidence.
2. Learn Practical Skills
Schools and colleges don’t teach practical life skills. Apart from mandatory courses and programs, lifelong learning teaches you essential skills. The willingness to learn something new makes learning effective.
Practical skills such as improving communication skills, basic computer skills, programming, and more, can help you in your corporate career. Plus, you can learn these skills at any age.
3. Enhance Self-motivation
When you take charge of your learning, you gain knowledge, and this learning process will help you build up your self-discipline and self-motivation. It significantly improves your professional and personal life.
If you think you’re losing interest in your work, learning something new might ignite your spirit. It would also help you become motivated to pursue your career goals.
4. Expand Your Community
When you expose yourself to new learning objectives, you might meet like-minded individuals. They might share the same learning or career goals. You might meet them through a formal educational institution, or by participating in online forums. This chain of networking makes lifelong learning significant.
5. Discover New Interests
You can learn in new ways through lifelong learning. It will help you discover new interests. You might develop an interest in a skill that you’ve never previously explored. Innovation and creativity are encouraged as a result of lifelong learning. Discovering new interests helps you fight boredom.
6. Stand Out in the Job Market
Competitiveness in the job market is one of the main factors that is influencing learners to continue learning. It is also a known fact that when you learn new skills or acquire the latest knowledge, it improves your chances of getting better job opportunities.
Pew Research Institute’s study states that 55% of full- or part-time workers participated in work or career learning to maintain or improve their job skills.
7. Improve Flexibility
At first, learning something new could seem difficult. However, you have to freshen their abilities with the most recent knowledge and software. By adopting the culture of lifelong learning, learners will become more comfortable with new technology.
It will increase their confidence to adopt new skills. As a result, you’ll be ready to handle any situation with those learned abilities.
8. Get Job Promotion
Gaining new skill sets through lifelong learning enables you to advance in your professional growth. It increases employer confidence in your capacity to accept additional responsibilities. This results in getting job promotions.
According to Pew Research Institute’s study, 24% of the employees want to improve their skills to help get a raise or promotion at work. Moreover, 47% of them claimed that their lifelong learning helped them to get job promotions.
Learn to Overcome Boredom
Learning new hobbies such as cooking, photography, beading, or writing are lifelong learning skills. Though these are hobbies, they might interest you. You can learn these skills during your leisure time and fight boredom.
Lifelong learning is a concept that can’t be enforced upon others. Yet, it drives you to learn something new every day.
You can’t compare this learning to college degrees. It’s more about life enrichment than earning a degree.
To learn more about lifelong learning, read our article How to Foster Lifelong Learning in an Organisation.