About Lifelong Learning
Lifelong learning is the continuous building of skills and knowledge throughout the life of an individual. It occurs through experiences encountered in the course of a lifetime. These experiences could be formal (training, counseling, tutoring, , higher education, etc.) or informal (experiences, situations, etc.)

1. Benefits of lifelong learning

A number of important socio-economic forces have created a need for lifelong learning. The increased pace of globalisation and technological change, the changing nature of work and the labour market, and the ageing of populations are among the forces emphasising the need for continuing upgrading of work and life skills throughout life. The demand is for a rising threshold of skills as well as for more frequent changes in the nature of the skills required. It has also been said that:
Lifelong learning's core values of learning, exploring, and serving, coupled with benefits for the mind, body and spirit make it an incredibly powerful tool for personal transformation and enhancement.

Nancy Merz Nordstrom, M.Ed., lists the followoing 10 benefits of lifelong learning.[35]
10) Lifelong learning helps fully develop natural abilities.
9) Lifelong learning opens the mind.
8) Lifelong learning creates a curious, hungry mind.
7) Lifelong learning increases our wisdom.
6) Lifelong learning makes the world a better place.
5) Lifelong learning helps us to adapt to change.
4) Lifelong learning helps us find meaning in our lives.
3) Lifelong learning keeps us involved as active contributors to society.
2) Lifelong learning helps us make new friends and establish valuable relationships.
1) Lifelong learning leads to an enriching life of self-fulfillment.

2. "Traditional vs. Lifelong Learning"

Knowledge consists of different types:

  • Knowing about - news events, basics of a field, introductory concepts
  • Knowing to do - drive a car, solve a math problem, code a program, conduct research
  • Knowing to be - to embody knowledge with humanity, to be a doctor or psychologist, to be an ethical person, to be compassionate, to relate, to feel
  • Knowing where - to find knowledge when needed, web search, library, database, an organization, knowing who to approach for assistance
  • Knowing to transform - to tweak, to adjust, to recombine, to align with reality, to innovate

3. Characteristics of Traditional and Lifelong Learning Models

Traditional learning
  • The teacher is the source of knowledge
  • Learners receive knowledge from the teacher
  • Learners work by themselves
  • Tests are given to prevent progress until students have completely mastered a set of skills and to ration access to further learning
  • All learners to the same thing
  • Teachers receive initial training plus ad hoc in-service training.
  • “Good” learners are identified and permitted to continue later education
Lifelong learning
  • Educators are guides to sources of knowledge
  • Educators serve as facilitators for the student's acquisition of knowledge
  • People learn by doing, or Action Learning
  • People learn in groups and from each other
  • Assessment is used to guide learning strategies and to identify pathways for future learning.
  • Educators develop individualized learning plans
  • Educators are lifelong learners. Initial training and ongoing professional development are linked
  • People have access to learning opportunities over a lifetime.
  • Learning is put into practice.
  • Learners reflect upon learning and analyze their personal development

4. Why Undertake Lifelong Learning

An Australian survey of participants in adult education courses identified a range of factors motivating people to undertake adult learning, such as:[15]
  • To upgrade job skills;
  • To start a business;
  • To learn about a subject or to extend their knowledge;
  • To meet new people;
  • To develop self-confidence;
  • To get involved in the community; and
  • To develop personal skills;
  • To participate in social networking
Source: Wikipedia

Are You Ready?

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Learn About Social Media

The Air Force Public Affairs Agency created this guide to help all Airmen safely and
wisely use social media. This guide provides simple, easy-to-follow tips to help you use
social media tools in your professional and personal life.
Click here to read/download the guide

Become An Online Learner

How to Get the Most from a Free Online Course
Although you may not receive credit for a free online course, there are ways for you to maximize the experience.
Here are three steps you can take to get the most from your online training:
  • Set aside a dedicated time to work on the course.
  • Give the course 100% of your effort while you are working on it.
  • Take notes and/or save your work.
In addition, you should keep a record of the free online courses you took, the link where you found the material, and the date you took it. This information can come in handy if you want to brush up on what you learned.

Here are some tips to make the most use of online learning.
1.Focus on what you need to learn now
The fastest and most effective way to learn a particular skill is to focus on something that you need to apply now and not something which you perceive will be useful three years down the road. If your life, business or career depends on it, there’s a high incentive for you to learn it ASAP.
2.Store and classify possibly-related stuff
If you read something which is sort of relevant or something that you might need in the near future, put them in a file which you can access anytime. This ensures that you don’t lose important data but at the same time keep you in focus on what you are working on at the moment.
Get a free account from Evernote where you can keep and tag all the stories, blog posts and newsletters that you received for future reference.
3.Edit your RSS feeds
If possible, limit your RSS subscription to about five to ten blogs. You don’t need to follow everyone. With so much information in the Internet, blogs belonging to the same niche usually mimic each other and dish out the same information. So pick a blog which most resonate with you and serves your interest – it doesn’t matter if it’s not among the most popular blogs.
At least once a month, I check your RSS feeds and unsubscribe from blogs which you believe are boring and useless.
4. Apply online learning
You can’t become an expert in something just because you read all the posts, articles and books about the subject. You need to apply what you learned and see what works. So set aside time, about one to three hours a week, absorbing and applying the information that you acquired.
5. Rinse and repeat
Learning – online and off – is a lifelong process. And it will take more than reading a few blog posts and enrolling in an e-course. You need to read and apply the same thing over and over again until it sticks and help you build your expertise.


Click here for tips on how to create a stimulating and safe learning environment


Click here to learn "How To Use Twitter For Social Learning"


When you are learning do you prefer to read text, and/or view videos, and/or listen to recordings, and/or use your hands? By recognizing and understanding your own learning styles, you can use techniques and tools better suited to you. This improves the speed and quality of your learning.

The three most common learning styles are visual, auditory, and read/write. To learn, we depend on our senses to process the information around us. Most people tend to use one of their senses more than the others.

Social media gives you the opportunity to apply all learning styles by providing access to multimedia resources. Using a variety of learning styles will make your lifelong learning more effective, interesting and entertaining. Aim to locate and store a variety of learning resources (articles, audio and videos) in your online library.

The following table provides links to examples of social media tools for the three main learning styles.
Learning Style
Social Media Tools Examples
Issuu - Scribd
iTunes (you will need an iTunes account), SQUIDOO
Click here to go to the alternativeTo website and find alternatives to all of the tools in the table above,
Choose a general learning topic e.g. Cooking, Health. Go to each of the social media sites in the table above e.g. Issuu, and search for learning resources for your topic.

Click here to learn more about Learning Styles
Click here to complete an online inventory to determine your preferred learning style
Click here for links to 30 of the Best Educational Tools for Auditory, Visual, and Kinesthetic Learners

Elements of lifelong learning

Source: Enduring Learner

Learning Research

Here is a great tool (interactive map)
to help you complete research and
learn more about social media.
Although designed for the
school sector the process and
concepts are applicable to research for

Click anywhere on the map for guidance
on your learning research,
AND select 'BACK' to return to the map.