Naracoorte Herald

Understanding the power of lifelong learning

Understanding the power of lifelong learning

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Two years of COVID-19 lockdowns naturally taught us a lot about ourselves.

For many of us, those days in lockdown were spent enjoying beloved hobbies and pastimes that we may not have had time for with the demands of our work schedules prior to the pandemic.

Another highly popular way to spend months in lockdown was to simply go back to school. Enrolment in short courses in Adelaide skyrocketed during the city's lockdown, as did enrollment rates across the face of the country.

Even after lockdowns have lifted, Australia has still observed a sharp increase in the number of professionals returning to school.

This rapid growth in enrollment rates could be attributed to the impacts of the Great Resignation, but education industry analysts also assert that there are some other factors at play here.

In a nutshell, many rediscovered the joys of learning and trying new things in lockdown, and we're not keen to stop anytime soon.

Lifelong learning is by no means a new concept, in fact many have spoken about the benefits of continuing to learn as you grow older for quite some time.

There are a myriad of reasons to engage in lifelong learning, and we'll be exploring just a handful of them today.

Read on if you're on the verge of signing up for a short course yourself. You may find all the reasons to say 'yes' to that opportunity below.

Professional and personal development opportunities

There has been great public discussion surrounding the value of upskilling in this post-pandemic economy.

The Great Resignation has drastically changed the landscape of Australian industry, allowing professionals the power of choice and the freedom of flexibility to find employment opportunities that are most aligned with both their personal and professional needs, others have gone their way to start successful side hustles using their skills and experience.

Upskilling effectively allows Australian professionals to bolster their employability and thus, have a greater array of professional opportunities to select from.

But there's more to learning than growing your CV. Whilst it is superb to grow as a professional in order to make yourself a genuine asset to any and all organisations you work with in the future, there is also a lot of merit in learning for self-improvement as well.

Investing time to further yourself and feed your own curiosities or budding interests will naturally make you a more fulfilled and well-rounded person.

In this sense, lifelong learning could be seen as an ongoing act of self-care or self-love as well as a form of personal development.

Understanding the power of lifelong learning

Attain mastery at your own pace

If you're at all familiar with the 10,000 hour rule for attaining mastery of any particular skill or discipline, then chances are you've already had your fair share of feeling overwhelmed at the prospect of being able to master any skill with all the demands of modern day living.

Simply put, not everyone has access to the time required to master a skill as according to Malcolm Gladwell's 10,000 hour theory.

Thankfully, that theory has since been debunked, with many asserting that practice isn't all that makes perfect.

Lifelong learning can actually play a major role in allowing individuals to fully acquaint themselves with any subject or discipline of their choice, simply because you allow your knowledge and understanding of that field of study to evolve alongside the field itself.

Information is never static, so the only real way to be able to call yourself a master of any field is to commit yourself to engaging with and nurturing an understanding of that field as you grow older.

Using the principles of lifelong learning, the idea of becoming a master in your field suddenly starts to feel significantly less daunting and a whole lot more attainable.

After all, you only have the rest of your life to reach your full potential.

Connect with other like-minded people

One of the most satisfying elements of traditional on-campus or in-class learning is the opportunity to connect with your peers and build networks in fields or disciplines that interest you.

Forging connections with professionals operating at every tier in the disciplines or industries of your choice can deepen your engagement with that industry, and ensure that you stay open to new perspectives, experiences, and potentially even employment opportunities!

In truth, however, the benefits of networking go so much further than just being a means of attaining employment.

Networking in order to meet other passionate people in and around your discipline can be of a great advantage to your own learning and personal development.

We are only as strong as our communities, so taking time to cultivate your own personal and professional networks can only make you a more confident and self-possessed practitioner of your selected craft.

Experience boosts in confidence and improved mental health

Speaking of confidence, there is much to be said about the positive mental impacts that a dedication to learning can instil within students.

Lifelong learning can essentially equip young people with a lifelong sense of purpose.

This sense of purpose is entirely under our control as a motivated learner, and in this way, it can transcend all the personal and professional goals that societal pressures force upon us.

When your primary purpose as an individual is to learn and further yourself above all else, your journey to reach your full potential never really ends, so you can continue to grow and stave away any sense of complacency, making you a fiercely independent and healthily competitive professional. It's this breed of motivated thinkers and doers that end up being innovators and trendsetters in their professional lives.

We would call lifelong learning a superpower in its own right if it weren't for one fatal flaw in that association: lifelong learning is by no means an exceptional or exclusive ability.

In fact, lifelong learning is a highly attainable characteristic, and all students and professionals can decide to become a lifelong learner at any point in their careers.

In order to unlock all the power of lifelong learning, all you really need to do is feed your curiosity, and reconnect with the mindset you found in months and months of lockdowns, the mindset that inspired you to think outside the four walls that surrounded you and see the potential for personal growth and enrichment in whatever given task was in front of you.