The developments in technology have necessitated that we learn continuously to keep pace with the changing dynamics around us.
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Learning is no longer confined to children or young adults. Even those in the middle and old ages must learn to stay relevant to the job market. But apart from the “need” for continuous learning, it’s also fun.
Whether it’s to upgrade skills or enjoy the process, inculcating a habit to learn something new with each passing day, contributes immensely to our personal development.
To achieve the maximum results from learning, set a specific career path that you like the most. Define clear goals or outcomes you’d like to achieve.
This will give a sense of direction to your learning and make it more productive.
Here are some ideas that’ll help you on your journey of lifelong learning.
1. Become A Part Of A Community
The internet and the social media allows you to join communities with experts and amateurs from around the world.
Alternately, there are also local communities for specialized professions.
Join a community which is relevant to your field of profession or passion. Learn from the members and also make your contributions. Gradually, you’ll become an integral part of it.
Every conversation with every person in such a community can be a new learning experience.
However, even if you become an expert member of your community, never stop learning. Even the new members might teach you something new or give you a new perspective.
What you can do: Join or build one online or offline community at a time and actively participate in its activities.
2. Get Rid Of Distractions
Learn to focus on things that matter to you the most. Don’t let distractions get in the way of your learning.
If you’re reading something, watching an informative video, attending a seminar or training, or having a conversation with someone from whom you can gain valuable insights; leave aside everything else and focus on the moment.
At such times, keep your phone on silent, turn off social media notifications, and don’t multitask.
And yes, switch off the television! The idiot box has its way to pull your attention even if you aren’t watching it.
What you can do: Reserve one hour a day when you will not answer calls, surf the net or watch television. Spend that time on things that you love – be it writing, painting, or learning a new language or a game.
3. Use Technology As A Supplement To Learning
Leverage technology and use it as a source as well as a tool of learning. When you come across a new piece of information or idea, make notes on your smartphones.
There are numerous apps such as Evernote that allow you to note important things immediately.
Save and store important documents or videos so that you can keep revisiting them in future. Make optimum utilization of technology at your disposal by subscribing to podcasts, live conferences, videos, digital newsletters, and other sources of digital content which will help you learn.
What you can do: Join an online course may be on Lynda or Udemy or elsewhere. Devote some dedicated time per week in learning or practicing something new which may or may not be directly linked to your job or business.
The above methods are great enablers for developing a learning habit that only improves with age. We now have exponentially more information at our fingertips with the developments in technology.
The tools for learning are ready for you to use them. So, make good use of them by following the above steps.
27 August: As we start thinking of a future beyond COVID-19, it’s a good time to adopt a lifelong learning approach. Career futurist Helen Tupper explains how.
There has never been a better time to think about how you learn. Over the past five months, the way we work has changed beyond recognition. COVID-19 has simultaneously encouraged people to consider what they want out of work and seek out opportunities to upskill as job insecurity has increased. This is a long-developing trend on fast-forward.
Helen Tupper, co-founder and CEO of modern careers firm Amazing If and co-author of The Squiggly Career, has spent years looking into the way careers and learning is changing. She explains that as people work for longer, they think more about the value they get from their careers. They’re more interested in exploring and learning as a result.
“People are going to have four different careers in their lifetime,” says Tupper. “There’s a World Economic Forum report that says 50% of the skills that people have today are not going to be relevant in 2022. We’re going to be doing jobs that don’t exist with skills that we don’t know that we need.”
At the same time, organisations are also no longer predictable. They don’t want people to stand still as a result; they want people that are adaptable and constantly learning. “At its simplest, you need to approach things with a growth mindset. You need to be thinking about how you keep learning all the time, not just learning about what you need for the job today, but other skills that might help you in your job in the future.”
It pays to build relationships with people outside of your immediate network, Tupper advises. Be curious about other organisations, individuals and sectors, and be open to feedback.
“Technical skills are still really important and more so for some roles than others,” continues Tupper. “But it’s not enough just to have those anymore. A lot of HR directors look for adaptability as a core skillset. It’s worth looking at LinkedIn’s top soft skills, such as creativity, adaptability, curiosity, they are some of the skills that will futureproof you, which pairs with your professional qualification.”
For those at later stages of their careers, Tupper says it’s never too late to start taking a ‘learn-it-all’ approach, particularly as retirement can be an opportunity to pursue further career options, from a side business to consultancy or a non-executive directorship.
“Even though you might feel like you’re at the end of your corporate career, you might not be at the end of your personal career or your career possibilities. It might just be that you’re going to enter a new phase.”
As a leader, you should look to create a ‘learn-it-all’ culture – it starts with you, says Tupper. You need to lead by example, look to invest regular time in learning, ask people for feedback, and make it visible.
“Make sure that learning isn’t seen as going on a course; that holds people back. Around 50% of our learning is experience-based, 25% is exposure and 25% should be education. So helping people to really think about what learning looks like and how can you learn through your role not just through going on a course?”
The language that you use as a leader is important. Talk about career possibilities, rather than career plans. Stop talking about ‘next steps’ and start using terms such as ‘levelling up’ “It’s not about what we call a ladder language. It’s more about telling people where you are interested in moving to.”
Build learning momentum
Lifelong learning doesn’t have to take up too much time; you don’t need to make it too formal. Tupper talks about using learning moments to build learning momentum. “It could be that I will ask you for some feedback after this call, that will be a learning moment. Or I might spend 20 minutes a day listening to a podcast or ask someone in my network about their career. That’s all learning.”
To get started, you might want to plan some daily learning, but it will still become a habit, giving you that learning momentum. “It just starts to happen; you start to look for learning. Even better, if you can find people who are curious about the same things as you are, collective learning is shown to be even more effective.”
However, you approach lifelong learning, the need for it is certainly not going away, and the time couldn’t be better to start building the habit. “Your ability to keep learning, unlearn what you’ve learned before, and then relearn what you need to go forward, no matter what level you are at, is fundamental.”
All of ICAEW Academy’s learning and development is accessible virtually. Find out more at icaew.com/academy.
Diversity was one of the topics tackled at ICAEW’s flagship digital conference which ran 18-20 August. Alongside celebrating 100-years of women in chartered accountancy, there was a discussion with the Social Mobility Commission.
ICAEW members, ACA and CFAB students, as well as community and faculty members can watch all of the sessions on-demand until 31 October.
Executive Search and Career Transition
Hard and technical skills we are told become outdated as fast as we obtain them, making a commitment to lifelong learning even more important than ever. Content learned in the first year of an engineering degree is said to be out of date before the end of the final year. It has become vital to stay committed to lifelong learning habits. This isn’t about keeping your end up in dinner party conversation.
As professional careers or working lives become extended, workplaces become more age and culturally diverse, staying in touch with the zeitgeist will assume a new significance for all. On top of this many hard skills will need updating. A marketing expert can no longer survive with traditional marketing knowledge alone, but will need digital marketing skills and know how. A lawyer might need business training or soft skill training, a chef will need financial skills, nutritional and legal knowledge. This has possibly always been the case to some degree, but today, with an unprecedented pace of change and individuals having to assume greater responsibility for investment in their careers, it is more important than ever.
Today, with the demands made on us from every angle and attention spans decreasing, even those who understand well the need for lifelong learning, can find it challenging to stay the course.
Here are 12 tips for developing a lifelong learning habit:
1. Have career goals and strategy
Understand your life long career goals and create a career strategy to achieve them, starting with the current year ahead. Carry out a career audit. What are your strengths and personal development needs? Are they in line with your goals? Do a skill set assessment for this year. What do you need to work on for the next step in your plan? Create that plan and stick to it. If you are thinking of a career gap for any reason – parenting leave is one, make sure that you have a strategy for staying up to date and lifelong learning. Many women are shocked at how fast the work place moves on, as they have busied themselves with their domestic roles. Re-entry can be a struggle. During periods of unemployment it is also important to stay focused on lifelong learning.
2. Select a career that challenges you
If you are not in a career or role that stimulates you most of the time (most jobs have some boring elements) now is the time to change. This might be a new profession all together or a new role.
3. Prioritise learning
Very often, especially those who have had lengthy and rigorous training, take their foot off the gas once they have qualified, or reached a certain level of seniority.
You don’t want to go there – especially mid-career. Make learning a priority.
4. Make a business case
You company might not be enthused about your interest in wine, but where applicable commit to making a business case for your personal development for corporate sponsorship every year. Even though organisations are tending to invest less in employee training, the worst thing that can happen is your boss can say no.
5. Stay up to date
Create a habit of reading and understanding what’s going on in the world and your sector. Whether this is via a newspaper, online sources, Twitter or Facebook or following influencers and thought leaders on LinkedIn. Create alerts for the topics that interest you and keep an eye open for those that don’t currently – but might in the future. Understanding how world events impact those not directly involved, is important to anticipating trends.
6. Cultivate the right network
Add people to your network who can enrich your skill set, knowledge and experience. Meet and or interact with them regularly if possible.
7. Look for a mentor
Find someone who has walked in your shoes to be your mentor. What wisdom can they share from their own experiences? What would they advise in your position?
8. Be your own brain storming buddy.
Albert Einstein said, “Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking.” Start keeping a record of ideas and projects and a journal of your own thoughts. They might come in handy.
9. Put your hand up
Volunteer or position yourself for stretch assignments so you can put into practise the skills that you have learned or develop new ones. It might be a negotiation skill, handling a difficult conversation or even a new hard skill. Make sure you gain maximum use out of it before that too becomes obsolete.
10. Become a mentor
Pay it forward. Share what you’ve learned with someone junior, or even act as a reverse mentor with an older or more senior colleague to consolidate the knowledge you have acquired.
Just like your computers, your network, mental hard drive, address book and feed alerts need to be defragged and cleaned up to be at peak performance. De-clutter.
Perhaps you have advanced and are in a position to outsource some of the low value work, or a niche specialist for the more specific technical elements. Let go of people in your network who hold you back.
12. Daily routine
Making lifelong learning part of your daily routine will eventually become a habit. Allocate to begin with 10 minutes a day of “you” time to implement your strategy and achieve your goals so that your future is the one you have planned.
What else would you add?
Common Learning Portal
John Coleman, Harvard Business Review
We all know the importance of lifelong learning. People with higher education levels often enjoy higher earnings, greater professional relevance, lower unemployment and longer lifespans than those with just high school degrees. Learning a new skill or topic is also fun and can give us a sense of accomplishment and confidence.
Despite knowing all this, many of us struggle to make a habit of lifelong learning. What can we do to cultivate a learning habit in our busy lives?
What You’ll Learn
In the article “Make Learning a Lifelong Habit,” author John Coleman discusses how to develop a lifelong learning habit. His steps are:
- Articulate the outcomes you’d like to achieve. What do you want to accomplish? What do you want to learn? Answering these questions will help you visualize the end you hope to achieve and makes it easier to think of achievable goals.
- Set realistic goals. Setting clear, achievable goals can help you both visualize your learning path and give you a goal to work toward.
- Develop a learning community. Learning communities like book clubs or writing groups can help keep you on track, as well as give you an opportunity to network and learn from your peers.
- Ditch the distractions. Multitasking and technology can keep us from getting to the deep concentration we need for real learning. Set aside time and space and minimize interruptions to make the most of your learning habit.
- Use technology to supplement learning. While technology can sometimes be a distraction, it can also be a tool to aid a learning regimen. Online courses, podcasts, e-readers, and other technological tools make is easier to always have learning at your fingertips. Additionally, these tools can also allow you to learn on the go by listening to courses, books or podcasts while you commute, exercise or run errands. Combined with apps that track your progress, technology can help enhance your learning and keep it on track.
From the Article
[Theodore] Roosevelt was what we might call a “lifetime learner.” Learning became, for him, a mode of personal enjoyment and a path to professional success. It’s a habit many of us would like to emulate. The Economist recently argued that with all the disruptions in the modern economy, particularly technology, ongoing skill acquisition is critical to persistent professional relevance. Formal education levels are regularly linked to higher earnings and lower unemployment. And apart from its utility, learning is fun. It’s a joy to engage a new topic. Having an array of interesting topics at your disposal when speaking to colleagues or friends can boost your confidence. And its fulfilling to finally understand a difficult new subject.
Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at 20 or at 80. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young. — Henry Ford
Many of us still operate under the idea that, once we leave school with our diplomas in hand, there’s no need to continue mastering different areas of knowledge. However, the reality is that we no longer live in a world where learning can stay fixed for anyone in any trade. Adaptation is a currency worth its weight in gold in today’s business world, where new innovations are continuously changing the game.
It’ll not only allow you to survive in this changing entrepreneurial landscape but to thrive in it. Being a constant learner means staying sharp, relevant in your field, and ahead of the curve. And forming these habits doesn’t have to be difficult or terribly time consuming either.
Without further ado, here are 3 smart ways to make lifelong learning a daily habit:
First things first, get those self-improvement ideas out of your head and out into the real world in a tangible way. Writing a list of what you want to learn can help you stick to your goals in a meaningful way.
Next, create objectives that are manageable, by breaking down big picture goals into daily, monthly, and annual stepping stones. If you want to learn more about SEO techniques, for example, you could set a goal to read one blog post about your area of interest per day. Chrome extensions like Prioritab can also help you keep your short-term daily goals and long-term weekly and monthly goals in sight.
The internet has given us many amazing things — including access to top-notch online courses — that allow us to learn nearly any topic under the sun.
While more traditional methods of learning, like being in a physical classroom, will always be indispensable, the internet is also an invaluable tool, when setting out on your journey as a lifelong learner. It can broaden your horizons and allow you to tailor learning to your daily schedule and needs.
You can even get an Ivy League education for free from Open Yale Courses and Stanford Online, which are filled with hundreds of video courses on everything from financing to psychology.
Other fantastic learning resources include sites like Lynda.com and Coursera, which are effective and affordable education companies that let you search for specific online classes and complete them at your own pace. With these sites, you can learn how to build an Android app, or learn Photoshop, or SEO marketing techniques, just to name a few options.
Another great, free education tool is YouTube, which is populated with tutorials on just about anything you could think of. Not to mention, you can use it to catch up on cutting edge TED Talks and stay current on new developments and ideas.
As a busy businessperson, it can be hard to squeeze in time for continued education. However, with podcasts and nonfiction audiobooks, that task is much more attainable. A perfect time to dive into audio learning is during your commute to and from work, or while you exercise, or cook. If you’re looking for a good place to start, The Harvard Business Review’s podcast, HBR Ideacast, is excellent for anyone looking to sharpen their entrepreneurial skills and learn from the leading minds in business.
Making learning a lifelong a daily endeavor might sound like quite the time investment, but it’s one that will pay off in the future and can be done in bite sized increments every day. So get started today — your future self will thank you.
The Collins English Dictionary defines “lifelong learning” as “the provision or use of both formal and informal learning opportunities throughout people’s lives in order to foster the continuous development and improvement of the knowledge and skills needed for employment and personal fulfillment.”
Introduced in Denmark as early as 1971, the term “recognizes that learning is not confined to childhood or the classroom but takes place throughout life and in a range of situations” (Wikipedia).
Many educators and parents actually advocate lifelong learning because it is considered something that is crucial in a person’s development and growth.
It is very important that, as parents, we reflect on our goals for our children. We should ask ourselves questions such as: What kind of children do we want them to become? What kind of future do we want for them?
To develop and nurture our children to be lifelong learners is one of the best gifts we can impart to them. Why you may ask? Because we want to raise children who are not just knowledgeable but who are also self-motivated to learn on their own — children who do not need prodding or external reinforcement in order for them to understand concepts.
We want children who understand, who analyze, who ask questions rather than children who simply memorize. There is no need to memorize facts anymore… we live in an age where everything is googleable, memorization is not enough.
In short, we want to equip children with life skills such as: being curious; independent; sensitive to the needs of others; expressive — these skills are what matter as they go through life.
If you want to encourage lifelong learning in your own child, here are some expert tips for you:
1. Value your child’s uniqueness.
Find out your children’s interests, and strengths that bring out the best in them.
It is by knowing your child well that you will be able to discover how he learns, and by doing so, you will be able to support him in ways that will make him love learning more.
2. Involve your child in activities that will help him learn best
These activities need not be restrained to classroom-learning only, but it can actually include activities that will expose your child to the bigger world outside the school. Take your child outdoors, travel with your child, and do activities that will make learning more enjoyable.
3. Encourage growth
Encourage [your kids], and if you praise, praise using the correct guidelines. Instill the growth mindset.
In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment. Virtually all great people have had these qualities.
4. Don’t focus on grades.
Parents should not be “grade or credential conscious,” and should encourage their kids not to be so either.
What is important is how you are learning in all aspects of life, not just academics. Teach your children that they are not limited by the requirements of their teachers, and to do things not for the grades but for the love of learning.
5. Let him ask questions
I believe that questioning around the house, which she believes is crucial when it comes to encouraging lifelong learning.
What is more important is the questions we ask, and how we process things rather than finding answers. And if there are answers, we usually seek alternatives or see how such answers are framed by contextual factors.
As our children grow, the more they should be able to tolerate ambiguities. It’s good for them to realize that you cannot put all things in neat ‘boxes.’ It makes you live in awe and wonder.
6. Teach him how to learn
One key competency that’s being inculcated among young learners today is learning to learn.
You can do a Google search about how knowledge expands and multiplies, especially when it comes to technology — that once a textbook is made, a new version is created
Thus, it is important to teach children how to learn, and how to acquire knowledge, more than just memorizing facts and figures.
7. Be part of a community
When children are discovering new things with his peers/friends, it makes learning more enjoyable.
I encourage parents to find playgroups or interest groups that will expose their children to a community that “loves to learn and to experience.
8. Model lifelong learning to your child
“Children look up to their parents as their role models. Thus, it is good to be a good example when it comes to becoming a lifelong learner.
On a practical level, parents should show their kids what it means to “explore” and “be curious.
Show them what it means to value knowledge by reading, researching (through the use of books or the Internet) and to find out new concepts through a variety of means — through traveling; learning from peers; reading; etc.
9. Develop a love for learning
Make learning fun. Make reading fun. Make math fun. Make every learning experience fun and don’t make learning very passive. Instead, make learning active so that your kids remain curious. Curiosity drives them to always want to learn more.
In the end, lifelong learning, like most other things related to our children, is something that is better “caught” than “taught.
Let us show our children that lifelong learning is something to be pursued by pursuing it ourselves, and encourage them to make every life experience a learning one. As American philosopher, psychologist and educational reformer
As American philosopher, psychologist and educational reformer John Dewey once said, “Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.”
Many great educators have said many great things about the importance of lifelong learning skills. John Dewey, however, probably said it best:
“Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.”
Educators want their learners to succeed both in and out of the classroom. The idea is to make sure that once our children leave school, they no longer need us. In essence, our learners must become teachers and leaders. The point is that they never stop being learners.
This is what it means to be a lifelong learner. Below are a few ways that you can help them achieve this priceless mindset.
1. Encourage Learning Ownership
Ultimately, we are responsible for our own learning. Outside of school, students will be expected to learn on their own. Giving them this freedom early on will serve them well in the future. When students own their learning, it sticks with them.
It’s also important to show them the rewards of taking such responsibility. This includes higher self-esteem, pride in achievement, and the independence they want. It also adds to their ability to help others.
2. Turn Mistakes Into Opportunities
The practice of learning from mistakes is one of the best lifelong learning skills anyone can master. There is so much we can learn from making mistakes. They remind us that we’re human and that we tried. They show us better ways to think and work, and also provide insights into hidden knowledge and awareness.
Ultimately we are responsible for our own learning . when students own their learning, it sticks with them.
Trying new things and stretching ourselves helps us grow mentally and emotionally, as do the mistakes that will inevitably come with this. Our learners are both tough and fragile at the same time. We must always treat mistakes as opportunities, and never as crimes.
3. Stash a Few Go-To Learning Tools
Everyone has tricks that help them learn. For some, it’s mental repetition, while others create a spur-of-the-moment song about what they want to learn. Ultimately there are dozens of things you can do to help you learn better.
Do your learners regularly read blogs or listen to podcasts? Are they news buffs? Maybe they’re avid readers, or they enjoy debates and discussions for sharing knowledge and ideas. No matter the case, try to give them opportunities to do these things when you can. If they give them a thirst for learning and growing, that’s a good thing.
4. Let Them Take the Teaching Reins
Edgar Dale’s Cone of Experience was developed in the 1960s. Since then, it has been represented in numerous graphical adaptations. They are diverse in content, but they all seem to agree on one thing: learning retention is maximized when we teach our knowledge to someone else.
Who are your mentors in class? Who are the ones who are assisting others and guiding their peers? These students can impart valuable lessons of learning ownership and knowledge sharing to others. Such pupils can be an inspiration for many.
5. Find Time to Play
Any theatre actor will tell you why a play is called a play. It’s because, on stage, playing is exactly what you do. In doing so, you learn about yourself and others. You learn communication, comprehension, and unique social skills as you bring stories alive to teach others. The experience is enjoyable to both you and to those watching.
As teachers, we must always treat mistakes as opportunities, and never as crimes.
Play is an important part of learning. It’s essential that learning is fun and enjoyable. Otherwise, the learner will resist it. They will associate it with unpleasant intellectual and emotional feelings, instead of the joys of discovery and personal growth. We must ensure our kids never see learning as a chore, but rather as the bold adventure it was meant to be.
6. Set Learning Goals
Since learning should have a purpose, this means having the end clearly in mind. There must be a valid and worthwhile reason for learning. To have any value, it must be a meaningful and useful experience we can move forward within our lives. This is especially true for our learners. Goal setting is one of those lifelong learning skills that strengthen the desire to learn.
Lifelong Learning Skills: Our Gift to Students
No matter where they are in life, we must make sure our learners continue learning and growing. We do this by making sure they want to. That is the gift we give them when we release them into the waiting world.
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After much demand, we have reproduced The Ultimate Critical Thinking Cheatsheet, our most popular digital. read more
You’ll stay relevant and be happier.
Formal education is linked to higher earning and lower unemployment. Beyond that, learning is fun! Engaging in a new topic can be a joy and a confidence booster. But continuous and persistent learning isn’t just a choice – it has to become a habit, no easy task in these busy times. To make learning a lifelong habit, know that developing a learning habit requires you to articulate the outcomes you’d like to achieve. Based on those choices, set realistic goals. With goals in hand, develop a learning community and ditch the distractions. Finally, where appropriate, use technology to supplement learning. Developing specific learning habits –
consciously established and conscientiously cultivated – can be a route to both continued professional relevance and deep personal happiness.
You’ll stay relevant and be happier.
I recently worked my way through Edmund Morris’s first two Teddy Roosevelt biographies, The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt and Theodore Rex. Roosevelt wasn’t without flaws, but he was by nearly all accounts fascinating and intellectually voracious. He published his first book, The Naval War of 1812, at 23 and continued to write on everything from conservation to politics and biography. According to Morris, at certain periods he was rumored to read a book a day, and all this reading and writing arguably made him both charismatic and uniquely equipped to engage the host of topics he did as president: national conservation efforts, naval expansion, trust regulation, and a variety of others.
Roosevelt was what we might call a “lifetime learner.” Learning became, for him, a mode of personal enjoyment and a path to professional success. It’s a habit many of us would like to emulate. The Economist recently argued that with all the disruptions in the modern economy, particularly technology, ongoing skill acquisition is critical to persistent professional relevance. Formal education levels are regularly linked to higher earnings and lower unemployment. And apart from its utility, learning is fun. It’s a joy to engage a new topic. Having an array of interesting topics at your disposal when speaking to colleagues or friends can boost your confidence. And it’s fulfilling to finally understand a difficult new subject.
But this type of continuous and persistent learning isn’t merely a decision. It must become a habit. And as such, it requires careful cultivation.
First, developing a learning habit requires you to articulate the outcomes you’d like to achieve. Would you like to reinvigorate your conversations and intellectual activity by reading a host of new topics? Are you looking to master a specific subject? Would you like to make sure you’re up-to-date on one or two topics outside your day-to-day work? In my own life, I like to maintain a reading program that exposes me to a variety of subjects and genres with the goal of general intellectual exploration, while also digging more deeply into a few areas, including education, foreign policy, and leadership. Picking one or two outcomes will allow you to set achievable goals to make the habit stick.
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Based on those choices, set realistic goals. Like many people, each year, I set a series of goals for myself. These take the form of objectives I’d like to achieve over the course of the year (e.g., read 24 books in 2017) and daily or weekly habits I need to cultivate in accordance with those goals (e.g., read for more than 20 minutes five days per week). For me, long-term goals are tracked in a planner. Daily or weekly habits I monitor via an app called momentum, which allows me to quickly and simply enter completion of my habits on a daily basis and monitor adherence. These goals turn a vague desire to improve learning into a concrete set of actions.
With goals in hand, develop a learning community. I have a bimonthly book group that helps keep me on track for my reading goals and makes achieving them more fun. Similarly, many of my writer friends join writing groups where members read and edit each other’s work. For more specific goals, join an organization focused on the topics you’d like to learn — a foreign policy discussion group that meets monthly or a woodworking group that gathers regularly to trade notes. You might even consider a formal class or degree program to add depth to your exploration of a topic and the type of commitment that is inherently structured. These communities increase commitment and make learning more fun.
To focus on your objectives, ditch the distractions. Learning is fun, but it is also hard work. It’s so extraordinarily well documented as to be almost a truism at this point, but multitasking and particularly technology (e.g., cell phones, email) can make the deep concentration needed for real learning difficult or impossible. Set aside dedicated time for learning and minimize interruptions. When you read, find a quiet place, and leave your phone behind. If you’re taking a class or participating in a reading group, take handwritten notes, which improve retention and understanding, and leave laptops, mobiles devices, and other disrupting technologies in your car or bag far out of reach. And apart from physically eliminating distractions, consider training your mind to deal with them. I’ve found a pleasant impact of regular meditation, for example, has been an improvement in my intellectual focus which has helped my attentiveness in lectures and ability to read difficult books.
Finally, where appropriate, use technology to supplement learning. While technology can be a distraction, it can also be used to dramatically aid a learning regimen. Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) allow remote students to participate in community and learn from some of the world’s most brilliant people with the added commitment of class participation. Podcasts, audiobooks, e-readers, and other tools make it possible to have a book on hand almost any time. I’ve found, for example, that by using audiobooks in what I think of as “ambient moments” — commuting or running, for example — I can nearly double the books I read in a year. Good podcasts or iTunes U courses can similarly deliver learning on the go. Combine these tools with apps that track your habits, and technology can be an essential component of a learning routine.
We’re all born with a natural curiosity. We want to learn. But the demands of work and personal life often diminish our time and will to engage that natural curiosity. Developing specific learning habits — consciously established and conscientiously cultivated — can be a route to both continued professional relevance and deep personal happiness. Maybe Roosevelt had it right: a lifetime of learning can be a success in itself.
Making Lifelong Learning a Habit
I grew up with a passion to soak up as much knowledge as possible. After my formal education, I am proud to have become a lifelong learner. Not only does learning new things keep your mind active, it promotes your personal growth and can open you up to connecting with more people. Focusing on lifelong learner can be easily applied into your everyday life because there is a wealth of knowledge just a click away on the internet. From the comfort of your home there are a wide range of online courses available. You can learn almost anything from how to cook, sew, garden, play games and even master plumbing or masonry at any age.
Often people categorize their lives in three phases: education, work life and retirement. Many people grow up thinking what they learned in school or college was a means to an end to help them find a job. Unfortunately, being a good worker does not guarantee employment. In today’s job market there is a need for people to take on continual education and develop new skills throughout their careers. Lifelong learning is a concept that goes beyond our education system and urges people to keep an open-minded and be curious no matter how old you are. The benefit of having other skills can give you more choice and flexibility when you find yourself getting bored or gives you options to shift gears if work begins to feel unsatisfying.
As you grow up, learning does not have to be about earning degrees or attending renowned establishments. There are so many resources at our fingertips with books, podcast, online courses, professional development programs and other opportunities that make it easier for us to make a habit out of lifelong learning. It can be as simple as training your brain to enjoy new things!
The International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET) developed the original Continuing Education Unit (CEU) and ensures that providers of continuing education and training deliver high-quality instruction by following the ANSI/IACET Standard. To learn more about IACET and the accreditation process, visit us at iacet.org.
About the Author
Kimberly Kalista is the Marketing Communications Manager at IACET. Kim has fifteen years of healthcare marketing experience and is working on completing her Lean Six Sigma Green Belt certification. Along with her expertise in developing strategic initiatives and programs throughout all parts of the marketing cycle, Kim has proven success in achieving marketing goals and objectives. She oversees branding and business development initiatives at IACET.
Many individuals live in the idea that once they leave the four corners of their school with their college diploma on hand, there’s no longer need to invest on continued learning. This is not true. Life- long learning is vital and there are scientific facts to prove it.
What you have learned in college is no longer suffice to essentially prove what you can actually do but what you are willing or able to learn. Also, ongoing demographic changes have put momentum into this development and demand for skilled individuals is ultimately high to be complied or met by ordinary college graduates alone. Nowadays, most companies are reliant on innovative and extensive academic knowledge brewed by tones of college homework more than before. This knowledge can be acquired through providing continued education to individuals.
An important education concept was explained by Professor Sylvia Heuchemer. She explained that we are now faced with technological and scientific progress with an increasingly rapid cycle of innovation. This therefor requires individuals to keep their expertise, skills and knowledge up to date.
Knowing this, it is just fair to say that learning should be a continued process and even you completed your college degree, need to learn more in order to master your skills, get a high paying job and more.
If you take time to look on most successful individuals, even these people still have passion for continuous learning and are committed to deepening their knowledge and understanding the world constantly. If you wanted to make lifelong learning a natural habit, there are ways to help you.
How to Make Lifelong Learning a Natural Habit-Suggested Ways to Follow
You do not really need to execute lots of ways to make learning a natural habit because just these 3 ways can help you do so:
Figure Out What You Really Wanted to Know
Having this overall love and passion for learning is actually wonderful however, if you wanted to channel this love and passion, you must develop some particular thoughts about the things that you wanted to focus on. If you do not have goals, you will surely end up with shallow understanding of many different important subjects. By determining personal passion and the desired outcomes, one can really chart learning path for themselves. It is highly essential to realize that your focus can significantly change over time. Lifelong learning is a natural habit that you must cultivate for it gives shape to directions of your learning.
Make Learning a Part of Your Schedule
Another step to make lifelong learning a natural habit is making an effort to carve out energy and time for everyday learning. This means that you need to make learning a part of your schedule as much as possible. Time block does not really need to be that huge; even 15-20 minutes of reading or writing can be great. You then need to decide what you need to do, when to do it and where you are going to do it. Put that particular period on calendar then stick to it. Remember that most successful individuals in the world make lifelong learning a great priority.
Never Stop Learning
Putting effort to learn is not enough, you should not stop learning instead. Continue the passion and the drive to learn. You need to accept and then enjoy that learning and believe that learning never ends. There are always things that you wanted to learn more and there are those skills and experiences that you wanted to improve. When learners accept the fact that their learning journey is not yet over completely, they become more motivated to push through and continue learning and gaining knowledge every day.
There are many good reasons to never stop learning. As you are actively seeking to learn new things, you become happier. Several studies revealed that the more ambitious individuals have become especially in the goals they set, they become happier. And as they decide on their own goals, their happiness does not become reliant on others.
If one continues to learn, he or she becomes irreplaceable. If you are fine with the knowledge you accumulate during your college years, then you’re limited by your contributions. If you learn more, you will be able to build, create, develop and more making you irreplaceable.
These are actually just a few of the many ways to make lifelong learning a habit. If you take time to search, you will discover more ways to help you become the better version of who you are.
These steps are what you need to take in order to make lifelong learning a natural habit. By incorporating these steps in your life, you can certainly establish this good habit that can benefit you in many ways for a lifetime.
About the author:
Amanda Wilson is a creative writing assistant at Columbia College of Chicago. Her favorite thing in this process is an open conclusion, thanks to which people can build own practical theories. According to Amanda’s world view, this makes any writing purposeful. Feel free to contact her at G+.