Many people dream of finishing school or university and never opening a textbook again in their life. But not all learning happens within four walls. There are different ways to learn something without the formal school system. Without pressure, worries about your grades, and lack of sleep, learning can be quite fun. 

Lifelong learning is one of the ways you can continue to grow as a person and enjoy it. In this article, you’ll learn what lifelong learning means and why it is essential for long-term success.

What is Lifelong Learning?

Lifelong learning is a voluntary process of gaining skills and knowledge that lasts your entire life. It is usually achieved by using different learning opportunities, both formal and informal.

Self-motivated learning helps a person to better one’s understanding of different topics. Usually, people use lifelong learning for personal and professional development. The best thing about this process is that it is managed by you and your needs. You can always switch your attention to something else without any consequences.

Reasons People Commit to Lifelong Learning

Common reasons for lifelong learning are personal and professional development.

Personal Development

Learning new skills has a lot of benefits for personal growth. This leads to staying active either physically, mentally, or both – in any case, it results in a positive impact on overall health. Moreover, spending time doing something fun and engaging is an easy way to learn a new skill. It will keep you from getting bored and allow you to experience new things in life.

You can pick up a new sport, learn to play a musical instrument, do research on a certain topic, participate in different courses, or get another degree. Some of these skills could even be helpful for your career, like learning a new language.

Professional Development

Nowadays, employers are looking for specialists with diverse areas of interest and various skills. Having a degree is no longer enough. Some employers would even choose someone with broad experience and well-tuned skills over someone with a university degree. Professional training, an internship, or coaching can help you land the job or get the promotion you’ve always wanted. Or if you hate your job and want to start with a clean slate, learning a new set of skills will be essential for changing your field of work. 

You will most likely benefit from learning something, no matter why you want to learn it. By gaining new skills, you can get a promotion, or a new position, earn more money, broaden your knowledge, and get personal and professional satisfaction. 

For more information on how you can become a lifelong learner, read the article.

Examples of Lifelong Learning

Lifelong learning is self-motivated, so you can choose anything you want to do in any form you like. Usually, learning activities are divided into formal and informal.

Formal Learning

You’ve probably already experienced formal learning if you went to school or university. It is a type of learning, where you have designated hours, a person who is guiding you, and usually a degree or a certification once you finish it. 

  • Degree-granting programs, like university or college
  • Online academies (with degree or certification), like Coursera or Udemy
  • Internships
  • Professional training
  • Offline courses or private schools that teach a certain skill

Informal Learning

If having fixed hours or going to the classroom is not for you, then informal learning would be a better option. Informal learning is not organised, on the contrary, it is quite spontaneous and allows you to learn when you feel like it.

  • Self-study
  • Free courses or workshops
  • Watching videos
  • Podcasts

Are You Too Old for Lifelong Learning?

The truth is, it is never too late to start learning something new. People are often told to study while they are young because later their brains won’t function as well. But did you know that learning something your entire life can help keep brain ageing at bay? According to the study, learning new skills is the best way to avoid a cognitive decline in adulthood. It is also a great way to keep oneself from getting bored.

Many people find out what their passion is only later in life. Reed Hastings co-founded Netflix at the age of 36, while Ray Kroc founded McDonald’s when he was 52 years old. So, as you can see, age is just a number. As long as you know what you want, you can start at any age.

5 Ways to Engage in Lifelong Learning

Not everyone has time to attend different courses or workshops. The good news is that there are many ways to engage in lifelong learning by simply changing a little bit of your routine.

  1. Find a Job That Requires Learning

Many creative and engaging professions can keep your learning process ongoing. Choosing one of them can help you discover more by not sacrificing your free time.

  1.  Choose Different Genres

If you like reading books, newspapers, or watching TV, try choosing a different genre. It can help you learn more and discover new areas of interest.

  1. Keep Smart Company

Have you ever heard the saying, “who you surround yourself with, is who you become”? If you choose to spend your time with people who inspire you, you are more likely to want to achieve something and become a better person. On the other hand, if your acquaintances are satisfied with where they are and do not want to move forward, chances are you will follow their example.

  1. Listen to Podcasts

Try listening to a podcast on your way to work or while cooking.  Nowadays, you can find any desired topic and just start learning new things.

  1. Go To Conferences or Openings

Every month, there are plenty of events one might attend. Spontaneously choosing one of them without giving it a second thought can help you learn more. The good thing about such events is that they don’t require any preparation and usually last a couple of hours.

Tips for Lifelong Learners

Before jumping into learning new skills, there are a few things to consider.

  • Ask employer. Sometimes, instead of guessing what skill to learn, it is easier to ask your employer. Maybe there is a certain skill that is missing in your team, and learning it will benefit you and the workplace.
  • Choose a skill you are interested in. Choosing something you know you need in a workplace is great, but do you want to learn it? Try to find a middle ground between what you want and what is needed.
  • Make it fun. You are no longer at school, and learning something is not required. Instead of torturing yourself to do something, try to make learning fun. Instead of reading textbooks, try watching videos, installing an app or even listening to podcasts.
  • Stay motivated. Do not try to learn a new skill in one day. It probably won’t work and will lead to exhaustion and disappointment. Instead, learn a small portion every day. It will keep you motivated and prevent you from burning out.
  • Keep a list of things you’d like to explore. Sometimes great ideas come to you, and you think you’ll do it tomorrow. But when tomorrow comes, you can’t remember what it was. Keeping notes on what interests you is a great way to engage in lifelong learning and prevent you from losing ideas.

How Can Lifelong Learning Benefit Your Business?

Lifelong learning is helpful to companies, employees, and founders. For example, your business may benefit from learning more about marketing, branding, and accounting if you are an entrepreneur. 

Moreover, having employees who are always willing to learn and do better can have a positive effect on your company’s growth. Having a team with diverse skills can also bring a competitive advantage to your company.

Check out this article if you are interested in learning how to foster lifelong learning in an organisation.


Lifelong learning is an essential skill that benefits individuals and companies. Taking time to learn something new will not go unnoticed and will change one’s life for the better. Learning gives you the option to do what you want at any age. It is never too late to start learning!

About the author

Sign up to our Newsletter