Technological advances make lifelong learning accessible to most members of the community. Despite this, many people do not prioritise learning – whether it be through undertaking a short course, reading books and the newspaper and/or browsing the internet – after finishing high school or a TAFE or university course.
There are many benefits of being a lifelong learner – here are four of them:
1. You’ll be healthier
It’s true: lifelong learning keeps your brain active, which in turn helps to keep it healthy. Margie E. Lachman, a psychologist at Brandeis University, once said: “Education seems to be an elixir that can bring us a healthy body and mind throughout adulthood and even a longer life.”
Her research has shown that the more learning a person undertakes, the better they perform on cognitive tests compared to those who are not learning something new. Learning new things can also help to stave off ailments like dementia and Alzheimer’s.
2. You’ll increase your job prospects
Regularly brushing up on old skills and learning new things will help you keep up to date with industry changes and maintain your marketability in the job market. If you want to stay relevant in today’s job market, lifelong learning is a must.
But there’s more. In terms of your career, being a lifelong learner is more than just getting (and keeping) that job; you might even learn new skills and discover new talents that might lead to you starting your own business. More often than not, hands on learning, through trial and error, is the best way to obtain new experiences and skills.
3. You’ll have better conversations
Success in life is not just about hard skills – what you know and what your qualifications are. So much of a person’s success, in the workplace and in their personal life, rests on their soft skills, also known as their people skills.
Lifelong learners are more likely to read widely and therefore have a broad range of knowledge on a variety of subjects to draw on in conversations with others. Newspapers, books, magazines and websites are all resources crammed full of knowledge and potential conversation starters.
4. You’ll make new friends
For some people, an interest in lifelong learning may lead to signing up to a course or workshop with other like-minded people. It is not uncommon for friendships to develop over shared interests and hobbies, and for these relationships to continue outside the ‘classroom’ setting. These new friendships may also be the motivation for continued learning.
Learn Local organisations offer a number of courses that can assist you to begin (or continue) your journey with lifelong learning. Visit www.learnlocal.org.au to see what courses are on offer near where you live.