Lifelong learning

Lifelong learning: Velites insights in implementation, interaction and leadership

Lifelong learning

When I studied in Amsterdam I was fascinated by a lady of 78 years old who worked in front of our class on her master degree in law. She didn’t have to work anymore and she didn’t have to prove herself any longer. But still she wanted to obtain her master degree in law. Just out of curiosity and her internal motivation to explore. 

With all the technological developments and from the thought of not having a future anymore with one lifetime job, a lifelong learning is being promoted. But what if you have difficulties to learn, if it’s too easy or if you don’t know what to learn? How will you deal with the lifelong learning approach in these situations? You might have a personal development plan at work, but isn’t that too much based on the current working environment and working structures?

Our internal motivation to learn is being caused by our curiosity. From the moment we’re born, we have a great desire to explore things, just like animals. However, when we’re getting older we become less and less curious. We do our daily things and might see an additional study as less time for ourselves instead of a chance to fill our information gap.

So instead of choosing from a list with of courses you can do, we first need to go back to the core of learning. How can we provoke our curiosity again? If we fix that part, learning new things will be fun instead of just a task that is part of your (future) job.

Curiosity is encouraged by situations which we cannot match with our patterns of how the world looks like. Think about a chair that isn’t a chair. Or think about a magician from whom we want to know their tricks. You can design and encourage curiosity. For example, by not giving all available information upfront. Just watch the TedTalk of Dan Meyer and see how he uses this approach in his math course.

And what if learning new things will be fun? Then you’ll make time for it, right? Then you start looking forward to that training at work? Then you will search for a photography course, a dance course, painting course or a master in law? Then you go to alumni-meetings to obtain new information? In short: you’ll become enthusiastic and motivated to explore new things and develop yourself, right?