7. Lifelong learning is for all
The acceleration of technological innovation often makes us feel as though we are losing a race between learning and technology. However, technologies, by changing how we interact with the world, are also, in many ways, facilitating access to lifelong learning for all. It is easier than ever to find the right self-learning resources to arouse our curiosity and learn what we need to know on a daily basis.
Knowledge is more available than ever for lifelong learners
Knowledge is more available than ever for lifelong learners. They can benefit from peer social network support, lifelong learners like them, who participate in learning communities such as those formed momentarily during MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses). One of the main strengths of MOOCs is their ability to support self-learning and peer-to-peer learning, which are by far the two most important mechanisms for gaining new skills and promoting lifelong learning. Of course, online learning will never completely replace face-to-face mode, but many of the things we want to know can be learned on the web. And it can be very enjoyable and recreational too. By being connected to other humans and sources of knowledge we keep up to date, we are able to create new connections, solve problems for ourselves and others, and thus become real networked lifelong learners.
One of the central objectives of the lifelong learning philosophy is to “unblock” people’s potential.
One of the central objectives of the lifelong learning philosophy is to “unblock” people’s potential. This is especially relevant when one considers the willingness of adults to unlearn and relearn, which is sometimes questioned. Do not hesitate, to be or to be again an efficient lifelong learner is not just for geniuses. It is about cultivating attitudes. We all have the ability to learn and change. Our brain has neuroplasticity. It is capable of generating new connections throughout life. At all ages also, technology is a good source of motivation to learn, since the control of learning falls on the person who learns and on the learning process itself, regardless of the age of whom it is addressed. It is crucial to recognize the natural autodidactic potential in each learner and to help people reveal their natural ability to be a self-directed and self-motivated learner. Both Connectivism, the theory of networked learning, and Heutagogy, the theory of self-directed learning, are mainly concerned with self-learning skills. Thus, not only do today’s lifelong learners benefit from new tools, methods, and peers that help them learn at the pace of change, but also their lifelong learning journey is supported by new theoretical models.
It has never been a better time to become a lifelong learner
It has never been a better time to become a lifelong learner. Technology responds to the need for lifelong self-learning for everyone. It makes possible a cultural transformation towards a networked lifelong learning whose benefits are already manifested. Learning, as an inherently social activity, can thrive. The future of education in an uncertain world will depend on individuals and their willingness to take advantage of learning opportunities and invest in their own future. Those well-prepared to embrace lifelong learning will find that their lives improve and their opportunities expand. In an environment that stimulates curiosity, everyone can grow as independent and interdependent learners. Becoming a lifelong learner who invests in LLL skills will not only help you stay ahead of technological change. Lifelong learning will also keep your brain healthy and make you feel more satisfied with life because the desire to learn is a natural characteristic of our species.
- Blaschke, L. M. (2012). Heutagogy and lifelong learning: A review of heutagogical practice and self-determined learning. http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/1076/2087
- Trajković S., Prokić-Cvetković R. & Popović O. (2016) Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) and Its Possibilities as Instrument of Formal, Nonformal, Informal and Lifelong Learning. http://www.intechopen.com/books/virtual-learning/massive-open-online-courses-mooc-and-its-possibilities-as-instrument-of-formal-nonformal-informal-an
- Making Sense of MOOCs: New UNESCO-COL guide now available. http://www.col.org/news/items/making-sense-moocs-new-unesco-col-guide-now-available
- Bersin J. (2015) The Use of MOOCs and Online Education is Exploding: Here’s Why. http://joshbersin.com/2015/12/the-use-of-moocs-and-online-education-is-exploding-heres-why/
- Neuroplasticity (video 2:03). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ELpfYCZa87g&t=52s
- Al Dahdouh A. (2016) Understanding Connectivism. https://www.slideshare.net/AlaaAlDahdouh/understanding-knowledge-network-learning-and-connectivism-60704683
- November A. (2017) Networks for Lifelong Learning: A Tale of Two Students. http://novemberlearning.com/educational-resources-for-educators/teaching-and-learning-articles/networks-lifelong-learning-tale-two-students/
- Popova M. (2013) Don’t Go Back to School: How to Fuel the Internal Engine of Learning. https://www.brainpickings.org/2013/05/13/dont-go-back-to-school-kio-stark/