By Ashley Snodgrass, Employee Benefits Analyst
Lifelong learning can be a topic so over discussed that the mere mention will cause eyes to roll. The phrase “lifelong learning” can take on a trite flavor, especially this time of year. With the month of May holding the flurry of end-of-school year celebrations, we may be reminded of our own past educational endeavors or hear rousing graduation speeches that signal the days of learning in the past. However, I encourage you to set aside your preconceived notions and open your mind to the possibilities if you were to incorporate intentional learning in your day-to-day life.
What’s the point? What is the reason some people are obsessed with lifelong learning? Let’s approach this from an academic perspective. The PEW Charitable Trusts published an article in 2020 questioning, “Lifelong Learning Will Be the New Normal – But Are We Ready?”. The article explains how as humans live longer lives, our work lives could be extended beyond the typical retirement age of 65. Further, the author discusses the impacts of the increasing presence of technology. The need for “T-Shaped Individuals” will increase, as workers will need a combination of “technical knowledge + human skills”. While this article dives deep into these ideas, my goal is to make some suggestions for ways to incorporate learning as a habit into daily life.
In the digital world, the stream of content can be overwhelming. I would suggest choosing a specific area of study that you are interested in, then choose a medium that best can fit into your life. Topics to study could range from a technical topic to help in your work life, to parenting, current events, history, productivity, nutrition, latest scientific advances, and more.
As for how to consume all this great information; the choices can be overwhelming. Here are some suggestions for platforms to help you add more learning to your life every day:
For the LISTENERS
- Audible for audiobooks.
- Libby to rent audiobooks from your local library.
- Podcasts (Many platforms like Apple, Spotify, Overcast, Podbeam, etc.) to learn about science, history, politics, and so much more. A fantastic podcast dedicated to lifelong learning is Ologies.
For the READERS
- Blinkist to read or listen to book summaries if you’re short on time (or attention).
For the WATCHERS
- YouTube look up TedTalks or content on any subject that interests you. Some great educational channels for adults are Smarter Every Day, Veritasium, and Kurzgesagt.
- Skillshare is a platform where you can learn anything from plant care to cookie photography tips to Excel best practices.
- Masterclass is another platform with classes taught by celebrities and well-known professionals, such as cooking with Gordon Ramsey or writing with Judy Blume.
I’ll end with one final thought. It was Henry Ford who famously said, “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.”