Lifelong learning: an educational and economic necessity - Ness Labs - Deepstash

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Lifelong learning as a necessity

Lifelong learning as a necessity

A career used to look like this: study a skill at a specific institution, get a related job, and grow your knowledge at the same company over the course of your career. You may have switched to one or two other companies.

Today, it is different. The average job tenure has gone from ten years to less than three years. In many occupations, existing skills will become obsolete, making lifelong learning essential to adapt to the fast-paced environment.

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The benefits of lifelong learning

Beyond the obvious benefits, lifelong learning offers many economic incentives:

  • Adapt to a changing market. Some jobs are getting automated; others are being created.
  • Spot new opportunities. When we expose ourselves to knowledge in various fields, we are able to solve more complex problems and come up with new ideas.
  • Explore different career paths. Developing adjacent skills is a good way to widen your career perspective as it is unlikely you will be staying in the same job for your entire career.

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An extended approach to lifelong learning

Lifelong learning extends beyond formal adult education.

  • Online courses. Lifelong learners have access to educational material from the best sources through independent educators and established institutions alike.
  • Knowledge work. Knowledge workers often use self-directed learning to acquire the knowledge they need to stay ahead.
  • Personal learning environments. Many adults are choosing to design their own learning using a note-taking app or joining learning communities.

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How to become a lifelong learner

Lifelong learning often requires to switch from a pedagogical (instructor-driven) to an andragogical (adult-driven) approach.

  • Decide on a learning goal. Focus on one or two goals at a time.
  • Map out your learning constraints. Find out what is available out there, if it will fit your budget and your time available.
  • Design your learning environment. Choose a course, a book, a tutor or another way. The most important step is to get started, then tweak as you go.
  • Practice metacognition to understand where you could make improvements.
  • Make it enjoyable.

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