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What is the Importance of Lifelong Learning in Career Development?

A great way to adjust to an ever-changing business landscape is to continue learning and changing with it. Learn about lifelong learning here!

By Fellow.app  •   January 17, 2023  •   6 min read

Change is often inevitable, especially at work. Old organizations might change their advertising approach to appeal to new generations of consumers. New organizations might pop up to tackle a growing need. But how do the people caught up in all that change keep their feet on the ground? Well, some of the most successful people are all about lifelong learning.

So, then, what is the importance of lifelong learning? Read on below for an in-depth look at what lifelong learning is and how you and your team can reap the benefits. 

What is the importance of lifelong learning?

A lifelong learner is someone who furthers their knowledge through resources beyond formal educational classes or corporate training. This can keep you and your team from getting left behind as the working world changes and grows. It’s a great way to let your natural curiosity and desire to explore fly free while building on what you already know. And most of the time, it’s fulfilling too.

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Examples of lifelong learning

Here are a few examples of how you and your team members might go about lifelong learning. 

1Developing a new skill

Instead of trying to improve on skills they already spend plenty of time with at work, your team might try to learn entirely new skills. This could be anything related to your work or something entirely unrelated. Things like sewing, cooking, computer programming, video editing, and plenty more are all fair game for lifelong learning. You can help your team master any skills relevant to your organization.

2Self-taught study

For self-taught study, someone uses easily accessible resources to learn about something new. This could mean finding a new topic of interest and going down a quick rabbit hole, or something longer-term like learning a new language. It’s a great approach for anyone with a highly unique learning style.

3Learning a new sport or activity

Your team isn’t limited to learning things that expand their minds – they can also find new physical activities to improve their physical skills and health. Taking martial arts classes or starting yoga, for example, would fall under this category. This can be relevant to your team’s work since a healthier body can lead to a healthier mind. Health and fitness incentives and benefits are a great way for you to encourage this type of lifelong learning.

4Learning to use new technology

Your organization probably brings in new technologies on the regular to streamline your work. Longtime team members, though, might feel inclined to stick to the old tools that they already know well. When you help them master new software or machinery, you help them continue their professional growth. 

Benefits of lifelong learning

Below is a list of some advantages that can come with you and your team members working to improve yourselves. 

1It renews self-motivation

Doing the same thing day in and day out can get a bit tedious after a while, even if you enjoy what you’re doing. Continuing to go about your day without any change to the old routine is a fast way to fall into a rut. Lifelong learning can help you and your team avoid that. The more you learn, the more things you can do at work.

2It aids your success at work

The skill sets you learn can expand your short-term responsibilities and give your career path a long-term boost too. Many higher positions require advanced talents, and someone who learns them is more likely to move up the ladder. This is true in your management role too – you can always step up to a larger leadership role such as V-level executive. 

3It helps you recognize personal interests and goals

When you and your team members open yourselves to continued learning, you can reignite any interests you’ve been putting aside for a while. Refocusing on those can bring motivation back to other parts of your work. They can also be part of a great skill development plan.

4It supports you in connecting with new people

No matter what skill you or your team focus on, you’re bound to find people who share an interest. In fact, exploring a new skill can introduce you to new friends – say, classmates in a continuing education program. These new friends can all become part of your network, and you could wind up working with them down the line. 

5It guides you toward fulfillment

While learning new skill sets can benefit your career, doing so just because it makes you happy is perfectly valid too. The fun part about this is that it can lead to long-term gains for your work life. You’ll probably be happier, and happier team members do better work. 

6It improves your secondary skills

You and your team are improving your most valuable skills even when what you’re learning might seem indirectly related to your job. Learning anything at all can require critical thinking, active listening, problem-solving, and more. These skills are all highly useful in the workplace. 

7It boosts your confidence

Building knowledge is one of the best confidence boosters out there, especially when you’ve worked hard to get it. You might feel confident because you’ve put in the work and dedication to become knowledgeable, or because you’ve been recognized as being knowledgeable. Either way, you can become a valuable resource for your team, and they can become the same for you.

Why is lifelong learning important to career development?

Lifelong learning is great for you and your team’s career development for the below reasons. 

1Lifelong learning keeps the mind sharp

Later in life, the brain might become less active. Lifelong learning can counter that. It can keep you and your team sharp as a tack, and any new team members can learn everything you’ve learned too. 

2Lifelong learning can help with late-in-life career advancement

Maybe you or a team member had a late start in your field, but that’s no reason to throw in the towel. The more you improve, the better your chance of catching up. If this happens later in life, that just means you’ll have that special earned-over-time wisdom to combine with what you’ve learned. 

When you start learning late, you might motivate any team members who feel behind the times to do the same. You’ll show them improvement is possible at any point.  

3Lifelong learning can lead to more career opportunities

Bringing a bunch of skills to the table can make you or your team members better candidates for bigger opportunities within your organization. Knowing which skills your organization is looking for in leaders can help you direct your team’s growth. And even if some team members don’t want to move up, skilled employees performing ground-level work are still invaluable. 

Continuing to learn means continuing to grow

Most people aren’t built to do the same exact thing for the rest of their lives without some sort of change. Plus, most workplaces will shift as the world does, so why shouldn’t you and your team do so too? 

With Fellow, you can set clear learning goals for your whole team, including yourself. You can set objectives and key results (OKRs) and track them to figure out exactly how far everyone has progressed in their learning. Fellow can help you track how far your lifelong learning is taking you – and give you the motivation to keep moving forward.

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