Lifelong Learning, Strong Mindset And Development Strategy

A opened book in a cuantic universe

Lifelong learning or constant learning is a broad concept that can bring together everything about learning both formal and informal. It has inspired educators to create different lifelong learning models and frameworks to attain socio-political visions of socially sustainable development.

Lifelong learning concept has definitions across disciplines and it’s seen as a long-term or lifetime solution to our lacking society. Terms like constant learning, continuous learning, and ongoing education are used interchangeably.

Longlife Learning as a Strategic Mindset

We can consider that lifelong learning is also a characteristic that we commonly share with all living organisms on Earth. Needless to say, learning is a lifelong process that has an intrinsic value for our personal and professional growth journey. Adaptation is the survival function of a living being and lifelong learning is part of this function biologically and socially.

Learning constantly new things at ease can be a long-life strategic approach. That is why learning how to learn is a skill that can secure our professional future and create a proactive attitude towards life. Currently, tech jobs have dropped by 40% and new roles like AI Engineers and researchers have emerged. AI skills like deep learning, artificial neural networks, machine learning, and computer vision are trending globally.

learning can facilitate innovation

The lifelong learning concept is researched by AI professionals in their effort to create advanced AI that can mimic us. AI researchers rely on neural networks in their work and they are inspired by human behaviours to make AI systems learn. Also, they are trying to make computer neurons more complex so they’re more like neurons in living organisms.

Also, in an organizational context jobs are at risk of becoming automated in the near future. Continuous learning can facilitate innovation and help people adapt to changes more easily. Constantly learning about trends and immersing in professional expertise offers valuable exposure to practical knowledge. Tools to do that are books, studies, articles, courses, MOOCS, conferences, seminars, trainings and workshops.

Constant learning, Adaptation to changes and employability

In his book “The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning” Peter Senge considers the learning organisations as a way for us to fee our aspirations and continually see the whole, where “new and expansive patterns of thinking are nurtured, where collective aspiration is set free, and where people are continually learning to see the whole together”.

Exactly like any other living organism that adapts to environmental changes, we need to constantly learn things. This can deepen our understanding and enhance our skill sets to face our challenging circumstances. Constant learning can be a useful mindset that helps us remain relevant and up-to-date.

A UK research shows that lifelong learning can bring significant returns within both employability and hiring prospects. Data shows that under social and economic pressures, lifelong learning can have a protective effect on helping people choose better career pathways in the labour market.

acquisition of knowledge and skills and agility

Agility refers to our ability to provide resilient and timely answers to changing circumstances while maintaining a flexible attitude. It is also a trait common to people who are able to understand the necessity of constant learning to remain ahead of their times in this ever-changing world. Both of these concepts involve the constant acquisition of knowledge and skills during our existence.

So, lifelong learners can also be agile, as the skills and knowledge they acquire enable them to handle unpredictable challenges and take advantage of future opportunities. Lifelong learning and agility are now playing an important role in the organisational context. Agility and lifelong learning contribute to constant adaptability and personal growth.

soft skills might overtake hard skills

Developing a lifelong learning mindset and growing our skill sets has become a necessity mainly due to technological advancements like automation and AI. Even more important than the tech evolution is the fact that certain skills have a lifespan. It seems that 51% of employers agree that the average tech skills have a lifespan of 2 years or less.

According to an OECD study, AI has a range of applications that can only be maximised through our creativity and imagination. Scientists argued that by 2030 demand for skills will change and creativity will play a major role in tech innovation. Imagination and creativity are the realm of humans not of machines. So, ironically in order to adapt to new technology trends, we will need to increase our creativity skills and become more creative than AI.

Communication, empathy and personal integrity

Also, by 2030 social and emotional it seems that skills, such as empathy and respect for others, will become essential. For early career starters, employability comes not only with hard skills but also with soft skills. An executive’s perceptions research about the most important soft skills showed that integrity and communication were the two skills and personal traits that ranked highest.

Currently, soft skills like problem-solving, critical thinking, decision-making, and efficient communication are gaining more importance in the context of AI development. Soft skills are not so easy to learn because their difficult to quantify in actions or behaviours. These skills require personal effort and time to develop through life experiences or on the job.

Empathy, a desirable skill for employers

Lately, empathy has become a popular and desirable skill for employers. There are job descriptions that require empathy in positions that involve leadership or custom care. But, as always there are confusing and conflicting views on empathy. Some researchers argue that empathy is a rare talent or personality trait and others say it’s a skill and can be learnt.

A study about empathy shows that only 10% of our empathy is genetic and up to 90% comes from our upbringing and environment. Also, it underlines that neurobiology research has changed the perception of empathy from a soft skill to a neurobiologically based competency. There is no doubt that some soft skills can be taught through coaching, training, or mentoring. But, people who already have an empaty genetic trait are more fortunate in this regard.

The roles that require social and emotional skills like creativity, empathy and social interactions are unlikely to be replaced by AI. We can’t always succeed in all our endeavours, precisely because we are only humans. But, learning is a powerful mindset we can adopt. So, always learning something new is a lifetime pathway that can help us reach our professional and personal goals.