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Good Practice Guide

The need for continuous learning

Lifelong learning is the “ongoing, voluntary, and self-motivated”1 pursuit of knowledge for either personal or professional reasons.

A recent discussion (composed in the Netherlands, but globally relevant) of lifelong learning in a work context incorporates the idea that continuous learning is critical to people’s ability to adapt to the future world of work and digital age. It argues that both employees and employers need to ramp up the focus on learning in order to future proof the labour market and economic growth. As we experience more and more digital disruption, the skills that we require the workforce to have is rapidly changing. Skills acquired in initial education become obsolete more rapidly as technological breakthroughs speed up. Increasingly, skills such as curiosity, adaptability and emotional agility are being added to the list of necessary skills for the future workforce.2

Still more studies have shown that some types of lifelong learning have greater beneficial effects on well-being. The positive effects of non-formal and ‘non-credit’ life long learning courses (i.e. ‘on the job’, and not for any type of professional development credit), “often undervalued as leisure or recreation” – are higher than other types of lifelong learning for some groups, particularly older people.Furthermore, that lifelong learning has a multitude of well-being benefits, including community connection.3

Further reading

Participating in further education and training is critical to adapting as the world of work evolves.

Further reading

Learn more about the Future of Work Institute’s MAPNet framework.

References

  1. Peter Jarvis (2006). Towards a Comprehensive Theory of Human Learning. Psychology Press.
  2. Narushima, M., Liu, J and Diestelkamp, N. (2018). Lifelong learning in active ageing discourse: its conserving effect on well-being, health and vulnerability. Ageing and Society, 651-675.
  3. Narushima, M., Liu, J and Diestelkamp, N. (2018). Lifelong learning in active ageing discourse: its conserving effect on well-being, health and vulnerability. Ageing and Society, 651-675.