Learning is a lifelong process. If you think education is only limited to the classroom, then you are wrong.
Formal education is essential as it equips you with the knowledge to become successful in your chosen career. But this kind of learning constitutes only one type of learning. You need to learn many more skills throughout your life.
Lifelong learning focuses on refining various aspects of your life that are not a part of the formal school or university training. It leads to personal and professional fulfillment.
Here in this article, I will cover lifelong learning, its types, benefits, and what strategy you can follow to learn anything.
What is Lifelong Learning?
Lifelong learning means learning new skills and gaining new knowledge throughout your life. We all are natural learners. Learning happens all the time. You have to keep your mind open and develop a positive attitude to learn new concepts for personal and professional development. You can either opt for formal coaching or a self-taught path.
- Enhances your awareness of the world around you
- Your self-esteem and quality of life improves
- Your brain starts functioning activly
- You do not fee bored
- Allows you to live a meaningful life at any age
Types of Lifelong Learning
Whether you plan to learn for personal or professional reasons, it is a great way to improve your job prospects and enhance personal growth. You can learn from books and free online courses.
Here are a few ways to indulge in lifelong learning according to your goals:
It is a traditional and organized form of learning. You receive a nationally or globally recognized degree or certificate from a school or university.
For example, undergraduate, post-graduate, diploma, or certificate courses.
In this, you have control throughout the training. It is referred to as self-paced learning. Here are a few examples of self-directed learning:
- MOOCs (Massive open online courses) are free online courses that offer you a flexible way to learn and advance your career. You set your learning goals depending on your skill and experience level.
- You can also enroll in various online courses at an affordable price. Skillshare.com, Coursera.org, Udemy.com, etc., are a few websites that you can explore. They cover a wide range of topics, such as technology, photography, designing, business, life skills, etc., to help you achieve personal and professional goals.
Having a degree from a reputed university is not enough to get a job these days. Employers look for employees who are continuously willing to learn and grow. So, whether you are unemployed or employed, you can learn a skill that can open doors to a new opportunity and creates a better version of yourself.
Here are a few ways you can make lifelong learning a part of your professional life:
- Indulge in on-the-job training opportunities to gain new skills and learning experience.
- Attend training and workshops organized by professional organizations.
- Volunteer for experiential learning activities, such as being a part of a cross-functional team at a workplace.
- Read articles, books, blogs, listen to podcasts, watch YouTube videos, etc., related to your field.
- Network with professionals in your field to stay updated about the current happenings.
How to Become an Effective Learner?
You can become an effective learner by following a six-step strategy. Also, you can apply this technique to both formal and informal types of learning.
Self-motivation: You need to be self-motivated. You must have a positive attitude and faith in your ability to learn.
Learn: Information is present everywhere. It can be in the form of books, audios, newspapers, daily interactions with people around you, or your personal experiences. You need to extract relevant information from it and develop a new skill-set.
Explore: To make learning a successful process, try to apply it in your life. Ask yourself how this new learning or fact can make your life better or what lesson you learned from it.
Prompt: It is not easy to remember everything you learn, read, listen to, or experience. To recollect what you learned, you can take notes, teach someone, or practice them regularly.
Examine: Regular examination of what you learned is essential. Keep an eye on your newly acquired information and discuss with others to better understand the subject.
Analyze: Analyze how you felt before and after learning. Never stop and keep learning from your mistakes and successes.
Advantages of Lifelong Learning
Lifelong learning offers many long-term benefits. It forms the foundation of innovation and productivity. Some of you have a curious nature and always looking to learn new stuff. You have a burning desire to be better.
But this does not hold for everyone.
Yet, it is necessary for each of you in this era of globalization and rapidly changing work requirements. The benefits of lifelong learning are not limited to expanding your skills for career enhancement only. There are many other benefits also.
Better Employment Opportunities: Today’s work environment is very different from the past. You cannot climb the success ladder by sticking to one type of qualification only. You have to constantly upgrade your skills to evolve with time and get promotions.
Increases Self-confidence: You might get a bit stressed by stepping out of your comfort zone and learning new things. But learning new life skills or watching self-help videos increases your confidence level and helps you adapt to changing situations. You can understand and accomplish tasks in a better way.
Makes you Work Independently: It helps to develop a DIY (do-it-yourself) habit in people. Today internet has allowed learning almost anything on demand. There is lots of information available that you can take advantage of like never before. So, you do not have to waste your time searching for information and can learn anything virtually.
Increased Emotional Intelligence: It increases your emotional intelligence. You can understand yourself and sympathize with those around you in a better way. The level of happiness and success gets increased both at the personal and professional level.
Improves Mental Health: Learning a new skill keeps your mind active. It does not enter into a state of boredom. It helps you make better decisions and reduces the risk of depression. You can indulge in mental activities, such as reading, writing, solving puzzles, playing games, etc.
Lifelong learning offers unlimited benefits. It helps to expand your existing knowledge beyond formal education. You gain satisfaction and a better understanding of yourself and what you are doing. It leads to a more rewarding life. It widens your knowledge base and allows you to gain expertise in other fields and increase your earning potential.
Keep your mind open to continuously learn and implement new stuff. This extra knowledge can help you stay ahead in this highly competitive world.
So, at whatever age you are, you have to step out of your comfort zone, make learning a part of your life to adapt to a rapidly changing world.
Written By: Preeti Shah
Evaluated By: Rajinder Soni