The idea that education shouldn’t be limited to the school classroom has been growing in popularity for years. And, of course, it makes sense. Learning isn’t like a Netflix box set. We don’t wade through it, simply one day to reach the final episode, then tick it off the list.
Instead, lifelong learning – where we embrace learning over the course of our whole lifetime, both in and outside the classroom – is instinctively the better approach. And this is especially true now.
Technology is changing the world in ways we couldn’t have even imagined a decade ago. And as software and devices rapidly evolve, so do the ways we live and work.
Here are six ways becoming a lifelong learner helps you make the most of those changes and leads to a happier, healthier and more professionally rewarding life:
1. Lifelong learning helps you stay relevant
Advancing technology and the fallout from the global pandemic are altering the workplace. Jobs are changing, and so are the skills needed to do them.
So, how do you make sure you’re not left behind?
Of course, one of the best ways to avoid becoming deskilled is to regularly undertake training. This allows you to stay on top of new trends and build your CV. A new qualification or skill helps you be more effective in your work and clearly demonstrates your value to your current or future employer. It makes you stand out as someone who takes their professional development seriously.
2. Lifelong learning opens new possibilities
Living in an age of flux can feel daunting. But lifelong learners are able to see potential opportunities and adapt to change rather than becoming stuck.
By regularly investing in your skills, you’ll be well-positioned to apply for a dream job or promotion. It can also increase your resilience should there be an unexpected shift in the job market. You may find yourself changing careers in a way you’d never previously thought possible.
With jobs for life now a thing of the past, lifelong learning is key to navigating uncertainty and tailoring a rewarding career path which plays to your strengths and interests.
3. Lifelong learning encourages creative thinking
Cultivating curiosity and enjoying new challenges are at the heart of lifelong learning.
Developing a new skill or knowledge can be a source of joy, especially if you follow your passions. On top of this, it can help enhance the brain’s plasticity: learning actually changes the brain and helps it forge new connections. This allows us to see things differently and find creative solutions to problems.
Of course, some of the most successful creative thinkers have always known this. As Einstein said, “Wisdom is not a product of schooling but of the lifelong attempt to acquire it.”
4. Lifelong learning builds a network
Training courses and workshops present the opportunity to meet others with shared interests. They can also help you grow your professional network.
In fact, online courses – with their often vibrant support communities – can put you in touch with people around the globe. Through this, you can learn about a topic from a new perspective, becoming more able to recognise and challenge your own presumptions.
Often the connections made while studying are long-lasting and may lead to future collaborations and career opportunities.
5. Lifelong learning is key to a healthy mind
“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty,” said Henry Ford. “Anyone who keeps learning stays young.”
And it seems Ford was onto something.
The idea that lifelong learning keeps the brain young and healthy is now supported by reams of research. For example, learning a musical instrument can significantly improve brain function. Developing new language skills, on the other hand, has been shown to boost the brain’s ability to respond quickly to new information.
A recent scientific study of over 100,000 people also suggests that mental stimulation in adulthood postpones the onset of dementia.
The evidence is mounting. For a healthy body: hit the gym. For a well-functioning brain: give your little grey cells a regular workout and study something new.
6. Lifelong learning boosts self-esteem and professional confidence
There’s nothing quite like the sense of achievement you get from mastering a new skill and being awarded a qualification. It confirms you’re progressing and growing: a crucial element of healthy self-esteem.
When it comes to work, additional qualifications can also provide vital evidence that you have the required level of skill. This makes job interviews and client meetings easier and allows you to be confident in your capabilities. You may even be able to use your newfound knowledge to support your colleagues as you become an expert in your field.
Keen to adopt the practice of lifelong learning? There’s a world of opportunity out there.
Start by browsing our broad range of learning opportunities provided by global training providers.
Or, sign up today for a free account and take a step towards a more fulfilling future.