“Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune”
Lifelong learning can be simply defined as an ongoing, self-motivated pursuit of knowledge for professional and personal development—resulting in positive externalities/social benefits. Lifelong learning enhances our understanding of ourself and the world in which we live, providing us with tools to enhance self-worth and improve the quality of not only our own life but also the life of others. Improvements in technology provides access to quality education across the lifespan of a new generation of lifelong learners. The aim of this article is to highlight the importance of lifelong learning for personal and professional development. Listed below are some of the key benefits having a lifelong learning philosophy.
Learning for personal development
Lifelong learning is the new norm for the way we live and work. Recent months have proven the importance of continuing to invest in personal development as a lifelong process. Examples of lifelong learning includes developing new skills, self-taught study, learning a new activity and acquiring new knowledge. The good news is that with improvements in technology, E-learning facilitates individuals to achieve their personal development strategy at affordable prices no matter where they live in the world. Listed below are some examples of personal benefits that highlight the importance of having a lifelong learning philosophy:
- Learning new skills and acquiring new knowledge
- Enhancing self-motivation and confidence
- Re-igniting personal interest and goals
- Enhancing self-awareness, resilience and a sense of direction
- Improves focus and effectiveness
- Improves your health by conducting research in nutrition, researching a medical condition or your ancestry.
- Keeps brain active, since learning can prevent you from becoming bored and thus enable a more fulfilling life at any age and delay or halt the progress of some forms of dementia.
E-learning platforms provide an excellent lifelong learning experience for individuals. Personal development is about taking the time and making a commitment to invest in yourself—your greatest and most valuable assets. Many people disregard personal development because of time constraints and because results are not always instantly measurable. In a broad cultural context, lifelong learning can be seen to perform many functions in a society, the greatest entrepreneurs, innovators, thinkers and achievers have demonstrated that the key to success is the ability to manage yourself in a variety of situations, which is an outcome of personal development.
Learning for Professional Development
We are living in an era of constant change and greater uncertainty; new knowledge is being created and so are new corporate organizations. Being well-educated is not necessarily the only key to employment—employers are looking for well-balanced people with transferable skills that do not only complement environmental needs but can be used to thrive in a dynamic environment. This includes the ability to be able to demonstrate that you are keen to learn and develop, in other words you need to have a ‘Lifelong Learning Philosophy’.
Continuous professional development is a requirement for many employees. This means employees need to have the ability to be able to demonstrate that you are willing, able and keen to learn and develop the required knowledge and skills. Use your time wisely, learning something new can pay-off with new opportunities which might not otherwise have arisen. Invest in training or seek opportunities in your work with coaching or mentoring opportunities. And work on your continuous lifelong learning as you will likely become better at what you do and more indispensable to your current or future employer.
Listed below are some professional benefits examples of the importance of having a lifelong learning philosophy:
- Learning gives you options to adapt to environmental changes
- Businesses and industries are changing all the time, knowing how to learn new things will make you more productive and creative
- Knowledgeable employees are an asset to the organization and have a greater change of advancement and promotion.
Lifelong learning is not a new or contemporary concept. The realization of human potential has been of great interest as it provides opportunities to develop and improve your knowledge and skills that increase the probability of achieving goals and objectives. As part of our human evolutionary process, we are driven to explore, learn and grow. Lifelong learning is about creating and maintaining a positive attitude to learning both for personal and professional development. With improvements in technology, e-learning has become affordable for everyone, learning what and how one wants to learn, it can be acquired, and skills-sets developed anywhere, making it an excellent tool that facilitates and supports personal and professional development. As highlighted by Brian Herbert:
“The ability to learn is a gift; the ability to learn is a skill; the willingness to learn is a choice.”
In conclusion, we all know the environment is changing rapidly, and we need to adapt and prepare ourselves. The bottom line is that, with E-learning—ignorance is a choice. Regardless of whatever your life path or your age, there are a numerous benefit of acquiring and mastering the lifelong learning philosophy.
Recommended Learning Resources
- Video| Jim Rohn | Self education will make you a fortune.
- Video| Brian Tracy |Develop the Habit of Lifelong Learning for Professional Development
Dede, & Richards. (2020). The 60-year curriculum : new models for lifelong learning in the digital economy. Routledge.
Colin Rose. (1999). Master it Fast: How to learn faster, make good decisions and think creatively. Accelerated Learning Systems LTD.
Laal, M., 2012. Benefits of Lifelong Learning. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, 46(C), pp.4268–4272.