“Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death.” ― Albert Einstein
When most people think of learning, they think of formal education. Sitting in rows of chairs, reading from heavy textbooks. But lifelong learning goes far beyond what you learn in school and college. It’s the continual development that aids you in your career and life. At TEL Learning, we are big advocates for lifelong learning. It’s one of the main reasons we provide so many free learning resources. But, what does lifelong learning include, and how can it benefit you? Let’s break down these two questions.
There are two types of learning to consider when discussing lifelong learning.
People are naturally curious. We’re constantly asking questions to ourselves and finding answers. Learning for personal growth can look different to different people. It can be a passive curation of our social media feeds to gather information about our current interests, such as fashion, sneaker culture, or gaming. For some, this can be actively discovering and learning a new hobby, such as photography, writing, or woodworking. Other people may dig into an academic topic they want to know more about, such as the history of World War II, Quantum Physics, or English Literature as a part of their personal development. These are all amazing ways to embrace lifelong learning and build a rich and interesting life full of personal fulfillment.
Learning doesn’t stop when you’ve finished college. Once you have started your career, professional development allows you to stay on top of changes in the industry, new tools to work more efficiently, and trends affecting your company and your customers. For many industries, regular continuing education is a requirement. Even if it is not a requirement for your industry, you should still plan for professional development to be an important element in your own career advancement.
Professional development can look very different depending on your industry. For some, it may include taking classes or reading journal articles. For others, professional development may be as simple as reading blog articles to keep up with the latest trends.
No matter what type of lifelong learning you participate in, expanding your knowledge base has a number of benefits. Let’s start with how lifelong learning can help you professionally. Even if you are just starting out in a part-time job, this can have an impact on your life in a variety of ways. By growing your technical skills, such as being able to manage spreadsheets or update social media platforms, you become more valuable as an employee. Even focusing on your soft skills such as communication and listening can provide more opportunities for you, regardless of where you are in your career. This can lead to promotions, more responsibility, and a better salary. Even more than that, in most companies, promotions could include better benefits such as more vacation time and stock options.
Lifelong learning is also valuable in your personal life. There are cognitive benefits to constantly exploring new ideas. Many scientific studies have shown that continuing to learn throughout your life can help your mind stay sharper as you age. Lifelong learning also provides you with a richer knowledge base to draw from when making decisions and opens up opportunities for you to use your knowledge in other meaningful ways. You’re more likely to make connections and more informed decisions by having a broad base of knowledge to draw from. It also gives your life focus and purpose, which can lead to more personal fulfillment.
With changes happening so quickly in health, technology, and all aspects of our lives, there is so much to learn. Whether it’s for personal interest or professional advancement, a focus on continually learning will do more than help you win a few rounds of Trivial Pursuit. If you would like to start your journey to lifelong learning, TEL Library has a host of free online lessons you can choose from. From Introduction to Christianity to Principles of Psychology, check out our catalog of free courses!