What is Lifelong Learning?
Ongoing learning can influence income, job satisfaction, political participation and health and well being. It can also enhance economic productivity and competiveness. Wikipedia explains that Lifelong Learning, also known as LLL, it is the "lifelong, voluntary, and self-motivated" pursuit of knowledge for either personal or professional reasons. Easy access to education through standard methods as well as new methods such as elearning makes it convenient to continue learning throughout the different stages of our lives. The European Union's Lifelong Learning Program, for example, has set quantified targets in four areas: school education, higher education, vocational training and adult education. In all four areas it includes language training and information technology programs.
Why Should We Participate in Lifelong Learning?
There are many distinct advantages to adopting this system. Unlike years ago when a person continued to perform the same tasks in the same or at least similar position of employment their entire life, the future will require us to adapt to constant change as the demands of a job can change continuously. Life Long learning will be critical in order to meet the demands of these fast paced careers.
In the technology sector especially, change and advancement of invention is rapid. To be a competitive contributor as an employee in this line of work certifications, upgrade training, research and dedication to keeping up-to-date is already necessary. With the trends of new positions being created and other jobs becoming obsolete, a commitment to lifelong learning can help to ensure better job security within technology driven companies and the IT sector as a whole.
Lifelong Learning: The Perspective of an Educator
From the point of view of an instructor in the IT field, I see nothing negative or worrisome about this concept as it has already materialized as a part of my career maintenance. It influences my teaching style greatly because I regularly have to compensate for a lack of coverage a text book or curriculum has on newly implemented technologies. I constantly remind my students that this area of study is one that can rarely have text material that is up-to-date. In fact, much of the information in technology text books is drastically improved upon by the time the book is published. This carries over into the work force as these improved technologies can replace jobs and create new ones. Life Long Learning means teaching students to come to an understanding that education is never complete just because a specific course is finished in any genre of study, and especially not in the IT world.
Lifelong Learning: The Bottom Line
The days of obtaining education only until you become an independent adult are in the past. Technology has had an enormous impact on how we learn and we need to regularly update our skills and stay current. With technology like elearning / distance learning, Cloud Storage (such as Google Drive), network file sharing, family technology, and of course the internet in general, it’s never been easier to maintain and update our knowledge and skills. Education is a continuing endeavor as people can freely choose learning opportunities beyond continuing education and at any time during their lives.