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Have you heard of lifelong learning?

If you haven’t heard of lifelong learning by now, then you may have been living under a rock.

The thing is that we know the world of work is changing – on average, people are changing jobs every three years, which is a huge shift from 10 or 20 years ago. People work in the gig economy, they work flexible shifts, and they work for multiple employers.

All this means that in order to keep up and remain employable, we’ll need to keep our skills and knowledge current. And we do this through lifelong learning

Will I be expected to learn all the time?

No. But you may need to increase or refresh your skills and knowledge from time to time.

Sometimes this can be as simple as taking a short course to learn how to use a new piece of equipment, or going on a weekend intensive to learn a new skill.

Lifelong learning is more about changing how you think about learning – rather than expecting to move away from education as soon as school is over, young people will need to be prepared to keep learning throughout their lives.

What does lifelong learning look like?

You’re definitely not expected to go back to school, or even to spend half your life at university. Lifelong learning means that you’ll deliberately pick up new information and skills all the time, through ongoing learning that can be both formal and informal.

You could learn something directly related to your career, or you could expand your skillset and learn something totally unrelated. Here are a few ideas to get you thinking:

  • Learn a language on your phone with Duolingo.
  • Read articles on Medium.
  • Listen to podcasts from the ABC.
  • Find local networking opportunities on Eventbrite.
  • Take a short online course via edX.
  • Take a vocational course to learn to run your own business.
  • Start a degree and learn over months or years.

Lifelong learning is about changing your mindset

One of the things that school is supposed to teach you is how to learn. Sometimes this can get a bit lost in standardised testing, but it’s really important that you leave school with the skills you need to identify when you need to learn something new, and the drive to go out and learn it.

Don’t connect lifelong, post-school learning with the experience you’re going through right now – they’re not the same thing. Lifelong learning gives you power over your future, the chance to change the types of jobs you are able to access, and you control what you learn and how you learn it.

This gives you a lot more flexibility than you get while you’re at school.

If you prefer to learn online at your own pace, then that’s totally OK. If you’re someone who reads voraciously, then you may want to pick up new knowledge that way. Short courses are usually heaps of fun, and adult education specialists know how to link your learning with your career, which makes the experience all the more meaningful.

All you need to do right now is open your mind to the idea of learning throughout your life, and you’ll be on the right track.

Find out more

We have heaps of resources on learning, skills, and courses on our website here.

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