What is lifelong learning?
Lifelong learning, the value of continued education
The current context needs us to continuously update our skills in order not to be left out of the jobs market. Lifelong learning is the answer, whether at business level — more and more companies are developing training programs — or as individuals — having the attitude to learn every day —.
Until not so long ago, what you studied at university or any other kind of institution was the knowledge that sustained your whole working life. Among other things, because there was not as much information and it did not get around as fast as it does now and so the need to update it was relative. But times change... Information multiplies exponentially each day and is renewed faster than we realise. As the American writer and futurist Alvin Toffler said, "The illiterates of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read or write, but those who are not capable of learning, unlearning and relearning".
Maybe this is why many experts consider that education does not end at university. From this moment on, a model is being imposed that drives us to continue learning to maintain our appeal in the working world. Lifelong learning is a new educational paradigm which, as the name suggests, consists of learning throughout our lives, and adapting our knowledge and skills to the market's needs at any time. For many companies, lifelong learning is a sure way to maintain their competitiveness. The key? A boundless range of training on offer, as general or specialised as is required, i.e. fully customisable, and cheap and simple access that only requires basic technological means.
Benefits of lifelong learning
From the worker's point of view, the possibility of training throughout their professional career brings them:
Broader skills and improved performance. It also encourages them to be more disruptive and creative.
More options to grow professionally and develop an attractive profile for the job market.
Enhanced ability to adapt to changes and to better understand the world of the future.
An increase in their satisfaction and motivation that brings a greater commitment to the company.
As for the company, as well as generating a more enriching work environment, establishing a lifelong learning culture produces:
Increased productivity, since professionals who acquire new skills and capabilities do their work better and faster.
Increased competitiveness, since a company that is up-to-date and proactive has better weapons with which to compete on the market.
Specialisation, through a high level of personalisation of what is learned, provides a differential value that can be translated into profitability.
The generation of an innovative image for the market facilitates both the retention and the recruitment of new talent.
Continuous training and professional recycling
The possibilities offered by lifelong learning in terms of training are multiple thanks to the breakthrough of educational innovations via the Internet. However, before choosing one type of training or another, the goal must be considered: updating or recycling. If you choose the former, a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) is a good choice. The mere fact of training with them in online training platforms and working with standard digital tools is already an excellent way to update.
And the best thing is that there is no knowledge, however specialised, that cannot be found in a good training platform such as Coursera — with more than 21 million students — or Udacity, among others. In fact, the five most popular MOOCs in Coursera in 2018 were: Machine Learning, Learning how to learn, R Programming, The Data Scientist's Toolbox, Algorithms Part I. This list is undoubtedly a good sign for younger profiles because, according to the experts, everything that has to do with the digital world (web development, app development, big data, etc.), is a safe bet.