Often adults feel that their active learning has been completed once they are done with school, college or university. Yet learning still takes place every day. A new skill, concept or fact is absorbed, however insignificant it may be, or whether you realise it is happening or not. Like an old teacher of mine used to say, “every day’s a school day”.
Life-long learning is consistently taking place each day without much effort, but to really create value from it we need to be active in deciding our own learning pathways. The reason is simple. Change is constant, and in recent years accelerating, and the only way to avoid becoming obsolete is to keep on learning.
So how do you embrace life-long learning?
My suggestion is to start by reflecting on your learning history. What formal, non-formal and informal learning have you done? Non-formal and informal learnings are just as important as formal learning. Especially as you continue to develop and grow in your chosen career. Ask yourself these questions:
- Where have you been and where are you going?
- What do you want to achieve?
- Where do you see yourself professionally in the years to come?
- What skills are going to help you succeed?
Asking yourself these questions and then answering them honestly will guide you along your life-long learning journey. Decide what skills are going to benefit you and then make the effort to master them. Take an online course, go to seminars, chat to subject matter experts at work and practice what you have learnt. It doesn’t have to cost you money. The internet is a vast resource with many free courses, webinars and articles.
Check in with yourself once in a while and ask these questions again. The answers will change with each new skill you master, but you will never run out of learning. Embrace the concept of life-long learning and enjoy the benefits it will bring to you in the years ahead.