Curiosity, knowledge and the passion to learn more are hallmarks of a well-rounded individual who is destined for success and happiness. These are also the characteristics that define a habit of lifelong learning — a trait which is not only helpful throughout a school career but also improves job opportunities, overall satisfaction, and even physical and mental well-being.
What Is Lifelong Learning?
At its most basic level, it’s just what it sounds like — an interest in learning and personal development that individuals pursue throughout their lives. It doesn’t have to just mean classroom or “book” learning, either. It can manifest in a given person’s life in many forms, from a passion for reading, continuing education classes, listening to podcasts while commuting or exercising, or any other chosen activities where something new is learned.
Advantages of Lifelong Learning
Being a lifelong learner can offer numerous tangible and intangible benefits, including:
Learning a new skill and gaining knowledge in itself can be highly rewarding. Do you remember learning to ride a bike or another challenging skill and the sense of achievement that came with it? You can continue to enjoy that satisfying feeling of well-earned accomplishment at any age.
Keeping your brain active is critical to personal health, not only to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and similar conditions, but to have a healthy brain, which contributes to overall physical and mental health. Some studies indicate that mental stimulation can reduce stress, reduce the risks of some health conditions, and be better able to adapt to changes in all aspects of life. All of that can add up to a longer, happier life.
Better Quality of Life
Being curious and satisfying that curiosity can improve your life, from expanded knowledge and skills that may serve well in school and the workplace to the simple joy of learning and sharing information. Participating in lifelong learning may also mean discovering friends with shared interests. Lifelong learning is also strongly correlated with personal and professional success, making it a critical part of anyone’s tools for achievement in any arena.
The more people are curious and interested in learning about the world around them, the more they will be prepared to take advantage of opportunities that present themselves. In fact, they will also be better able to recognize those opportunities and be more prepared to act decisively and seize those chances as quickly as possible.
Examples of Lifelong Learning
When many people hear the phrase “lifelong learning” they envision continuing education classes or other more formal types of learning. Those are certainly good examples, but there are countless ways to be a lifelong learner that do not involve a classroom, including:
- Reading — Perhaps the easiest one on the list, it can include reading books of any kind, novels, magazines, newspapers, webpages, newsletters, and more.
- Learning New Skills — Whether you take up knitting, fly-fishing, gourmet cooking, or freelance writing, a hobby or side job that requires you to learn new skills is a fun and easy way to exercise your brain and continue learning.
- Listening — From attending performances by live speakers, and enjoying podcasts, to listening to audiobooks, or joining the discussion at a book club, getting involved in conversations about a wide range of topics can expand your horizons and enhance your learning.
- Playing Games — Word games, crossword puzzles, trivia, logic puzzles, board games, apps, video games, jigsaw puzzles, card games, and more — there’s an endless supply of activities to promote an active, learning brain.
- Taking Classes — Of course, taking classes of any kind is an obvious way to be a lifelong learner. What may be less obvious is that those classes can range from piano lessons or yoga to learning a new language or how to become a home inspector. There’s virtually no end to the variety available.
- Tutoring and Mentoring — Older children may choose to be peer tutors or to work with younger children. Adults may opt for opportunities to mentor others. Both can help to keep a brain working and learning new things.
- Scouting & Other Groups — The knowledge and experience gained while earning badges or other scouting awards as well as similar work in other types of group activities encourages ongoing interest in learning and developing new skills. As adults, helping as a troop or group leader can fulfill the same roles.
- Volunteer Work — From visiting with senior citizens at a nursing home to being a literacy volunteer, there are countless ways that volunteer work can present new opportunities for lifelong learning in a wide variety of environments.
Granted, some activities may require more rigorous effort and willingness to learn, and those may be the ones which offer the greatest benefit. All activities that stimulate thinking and learning, however informal, can be beneficial, though.
How to Raise a Lifelong Learner
As with many routines and skills that follow us throughout our lives, being a lifelong learner is one of the good habits that can be cultivated in childhood. Encouraging learning through fun activities, especially for younger children, and modeling the same behaviors at home has a great influence on ongoing curiosity and interest in learning. Reading to children and keeping plenty of books around the house is a wonderful way to encourage a love of reading which can offer opportunities to learn throughout life. As children grow, supporting their love of reading with ebooks, magazine subscriptions, and trips to the library or bookstores are likely to produce good results. Choosing an educational system which supports and motivates children to enjoy learning in and out of the classroom can be a key element of shaping lifelong learners.
Inspiring Lifelong Learners at Las Vegas Day School
At Las Vegas Day School, creating lifelong learners is one of our key missions. Our programs and teachers are designed to inspire students to seek out opportunities to learn both at school and through the rest of their lives. We welcome you to contact us to learn more about how we prepare students for success by inspiring lifelong learning.Categorized in: Education