(Photo credit: http://bit.ly/1T8V2K3)
It seems to me that ‘life long learning’ isn’t a particularly new thing. For as long as I can remember my parents and even grandparents would say, ‘we never stop learning’. But I think what they are talking about is more about ‘inner learning’, self awareness and understanding. But in the future it will mean something different.
Already we have seen a shift in the work place. To break it down over the last 30 years (in my life in New Zealand), this is how it looked:
1970s-80s – learning was to get your diploma or degree, after that you were on your own. Any professional development course that came along was merely considered a day off, and everyone was there to enjoy the free lunch.
1990s – suddenly professional development was something everyone was expected to do at least once or twice a year and we had to be seen to implement at least some of the new practices or concepts into the classroom.
Early 2000s – a shift happened where this professional development became something we all had to share with our team when we returned, conducting a short workshop to pass on the new skills and information.
Mid 2000s – the gear shifted again and everyone was given a certain amount of hours that had to be completed in professional development. It could be done online or in a night class, or however or wherever the staff member wanted it, however it had to be an endorsed course recognised by the government.
Late 2000s – continuing university education was considered no longer optional for the enthusiastic academic, but compulsory for those who wanted any kind of promotion or wage increase.
Early 2010s – The idea of learning and working became commonplace for most staff, the online learning culture boomed.
Now – The recruitment of staff now is based on two things, the suitability of the person to the position and the clear indication that ongoing self training as well as professional development will be expected from both the employee and the employer. New staff will no longer tolerate a job where there is no constant in-house training or learning.
The future – the concept of innovation will be so engrained in the workplace that all learning will be based around creative skill development specific to job description. To add to this, all learning will be done by all staff including the CEO’s and owners of companies. No longer will these people be able to sit back and let the cash come in.
So life long learning will be for all, young and old. Universities, training centres, colleges and even high schools, will have people of all ages from 15-100+ years.
Why is this happening?
Do you notice everything getting faster? Speeding up? Well it is true. So is the world around us. Change is happening at such a rate that it is difficult to keep up. In fact it is forcing us to keep learning just to sustain ourselves in the workplace.
Even for the older people, a simple act of buying a new mobile phone will all the added extras is a learning curve within itself – the people buying the amazing phone and locking themselves in their house for a weekend and trying to simply ‘make a phone call’….and at the same time discovering the wonderful world of all the apps.
This action of problem solving and being creative all at once will be the mainstay of the future.
Personally I am very pleased to see learning happening for life, I myself have always done this, be it on my own terms, but now I am very excited to see it everywhere.
What do you think?