Did the title of this post arouse your curiosity and lead you to click on it? If so, I would say you have the traits of being a successful lifelong learner! Read on to understand why.
Lifelong learning is generally considered as the "ongoing, voluntary, and self-motivated" pursuit of knowledge for either personal or professional reasons. It is important for an individual's labour market competitiveness and employability, but also enhances social inclusion, active citizenship, and personal development.
All these are good reasons for one to pursue lifelong learning and for why governments and businesses push them so ardently. Yet, at some point, this push can become a shove.
You are definitely not alone if you are seeing your inbox flooded with a wide offering of training programs or courses, be it classroom, e-learning, microlearning or perhaps in the metaverse. The subtle message seems clear: You need to be a lifelong learner - and the only way to do that is by taking more courses!
As someone in the digital upskilling space, I will reassure you that this cannot be further from the truth. Learning does not only happen by attending courses and getting badges or certificates. Learning happens when you stay curious and intentionally seek knowledge to whet that curiosity. This curiosity may be an innate need to know more about a subject or a deliberate attempt to solve a perplexing problem, whether at home or work. A “training program” or a “course” may not always be the answer.
There is a mountain of content out there and much of it for free. Don’t tire yourself out by thinking you need to climb to the top to find your answer. The real trick is in being able to find the right piece of knowledge, knowing how to utilise and contextualise it for your needs and to connect it back to prior knowledge.
You may find this knowledge in a youtube video or a blog post or perhaps you find it by engaging in a discussion with an expert or some colleagues. This new knowledge is then reinforced and internalised when you reflect on it and put it to practice. Another proven tactic for strengthening understanding is to teach someone.
So do not look at lifelong learning as an end, and pursuing formal training as the only means to that end. Instead, aim to stay curious. If you are a leader in the corporate world, take actions to instil that sense of curiosity in your team members. Give them a challenge that goes beyond their current scope of work and provide the support and encouragement for them to pursue a solution. This will motivate them to delve deeper, learn something new and put them on the path of lifelong learning.
Lifelong learning is not a “target” we should aim for. It is an outcome of staying curious.
This was first posted on LinkedIn in Feb 2022. Here is a link to the original post.