Lifelong learning is about developing your full potential, skill development and growth via self-actualization, which is the highest need described by Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. Traditional education has a beginning and an end that culminates in taking examinations, and by comparison, feels like a reductive conclusion to a process that should, in fact, be an evolving journey. Why Lifelong learning is important? Because it means signing up to an endless possibility of discovery, skills and rewards, both professionally and personally.
How to be a Lifelong Learner
Lifelong learning is a type of self-directed education centered on personal growth. While there is no conventional definition of lifelong learning, it is commonly understood to relate to learning outside a traditional educational institution, such as a school, university, or corporate training. However, lifelong learning does not have to be limited to informal learning. It is best defined as voluntary and aimed towards reaching personal contentment.
Developing an attitude of continuous learning is one of the best ways to prosper in today's changing world. There is so much technology available for helping the process of studying throughout one's life. As such, you may pursue your interest in culinary arts, hone your service management skills, and even create a mobile app utilizing internet resources.
Types of Lifelong Learning
Whether you choose to become a lifelong learner for personal or professional reasons, the final result provides many advantages. Are you a professional in the hospitality industry who wants to pursue lifelong learning? We recommend that you examine your learning requirements first before sketching out the path you wish to pursue to attain your job objectives.
If you genuinely want to engage in lifelong learning, the options are limitless. Your demands and goals entirely determine the strategy you use. The following are some examples:
If you choose formal learning, there are a few points to note. This method follows a set schedule and takes place in a monitored sequence. It occurs within an organized and structured context, and is often part of a scheduled and monitored sequence of coursework explicitly designed as learning. Formal learning may sometimes lead to formal recognition in degree, e.g., bachelor's, post-graduate, or professional certification.
You may wonder if engaging in a lifelong learning process is worth it in terms of the investment. Yes, it is. While your long-term goal is adopting lifelong learning, you may earn undergraduate credits for your prior learning experiences to give you a jump-start toward earning a degree if that's your goal.
Hospitality professionals may also choose to engage in a self-directed form of the continuous learning process. In this case, a professional decides to manage the speed and direction of their entire learning process. Examples of this type of learning include:
- Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). They provide free, large-scale, interactive participation and open web-based access to courses built on learners' engagement who self-organize their participation. The best part is they are aligned to their individual learning goals, prior knowledge and skill levels and shared interests. Some but not all of these courses provide college credits.
- You can also choose online learning platforms to guide your continuous learning process. They offer fee-based courses on hospitality, service management, business, technology skills, and other topics to help individuals achieve their personal and professional goals.
Professional learning is the type of continuous learning that occurs at a workplace or a professional front. If you are a professional in the hospitality arena, you could choose to incorporate this type. This learning on the job is tied to career passion and professional development, and occurs through skill acquisition and training.
It is usually tied to an occupational field or position and encompasses a broad array of learning methodologies such as:
- Professional development opportunities provided by an employer (including on-the-job training as well as skills acquisition learning experiences and workshops),
- Training, workshops and conferences sponsored by professional associations
- Experiential learning activities aimed at expanding your knowledge and provide opportunities to develop skills such as volunteerism, new projects, cross-functional teams, task forces in the workplace, leadership roles in a professional association, etc.
- YouTube, podcasts, journals, articles, books and blogs associated with the hospitality field.
- Networking with other professionals to stay informed about the trends impacting the hospitality industry
It might also be indirect, personal, or informal. On a personal level, you seize any opportunity to study outside of the office. It is a pastime or a particular interest that the learner wants to pursue independently, and it can be either formal or informal learning.
Informally, it is the learning that people choose to accomplish throughout their lives by trial and error, and informal methods such as viewing a video, reading lifelong learning articles from a peer, chatting to a professional, or just watching a television show.
Indirectly, it is the learning that occurs without any prior planning or preparation. Adopting lifelong learning means you learn from interactions with people, travel, and exposure to various settings.
The advantages of lifelong learning
The benefits of continual learning extend well beyond the individual learner. Learning is the cornerstone of organizational excellence, continual improvement, innovation, and increased productivity and innovation boost our economy.
Consequently, whether you're a long-tenured employee or new to the profession, employers look for:
- Workers with the knowledge, skills, and capacity to do the job successfully.
- Staff committed to continuing growth and development throughout their careers.
Some of us engage in lifelong learning simply because we want to. It satisfies our inquisitive nature and our need to "be better." Nonetheless, lifelong learning is a fundamental requirement for every one of us.
Furthermore, continuous learning is regarded as an economic imperative. The hospitality business, which relies heavily on quickly expanding technology and is known for its ever-changing job landscape, demands employees who can adapt to and compete in today's world.
Indeed, research studies anticipate that technological advancement will abolish almost half of today's occupations by 2025. Artificial intelligence, automation and outsourcing trends will continue to drive continual changes in how labor is done. And navigating the ever-changing world of work necessitates lifelong learning, continuous skill improvement and mastery of new technology.
Without a doubt, LLL gives opportunities to improve or broaden one's skill set. However, "keeping up with the Joneses" is not the sole incentive to engage in lifelong learning. There are several other advantages for doing so.
In today's work environment, it's common for people to change jobs 10 to 15 times throughout their careers. Workers who grow their knowledge and skills in alignment with employer needs are better positioned to keep their jobs as the associated work tasks and requirements evolve over time and are more likely to get promotions and bigger pay checks.
Increased confidence and adaptability
You may be questioning if you're up to the effort of acquiring new abilities because of the unpredictability of change. You are; you already do it a lot. Following the pandemic, we are more aware than ever of the need to improve our ability and agility via a lifelong learning attitude.
Consider the previous year, the previous month, or even the previous week. What are your thoughts on incorporating AI and robots into a hotel brand's identity rather than merely using them in operational operations such as cleaning? This might be the deciding factor between you and other candidates for that high-level employment you desire.
So, while learning new things and breaking out of old habits may seem scary at first, continuous learning helps you grow confidence, boost self-esteem and adjust to changes more quickly. Learning allows you to understand better who you are, what you have to contribute and what you are capable of doing.
We're becoming a do-it-yourself (DIY) culture, thanks in large part to the digital age. Along with many other benefits, the Internet has enabled us to gain information on-demand and learn how to perform thousands of things – at any time and from any location!
Social awareness and perspective
It is critical to seek out different ideas to truly comprehend and empathize with people, enhance social awareness, and create good interpersonal connections. Improving the talents that have a favorable influence on emotional intelligence may lead to even more pleasure and success, personally and professionally.
Life enrichment and improved health
The ability to learn is essential for motivation and human happiness. Curiosity and learning, whether directed toward issues of personal interest or professional advancement, may lead to a more rewarding and multidimensional existence. Furthermore, health research studies reveal that an active and curious mind helps to avoid age-related memory loss and cognitive decline.
Perhaps intuitively, when someone goes back to school, the bottom line is to better themselves, but it has more to do with enriching their life other than simply advancing their education. The decision to engage in lifelong learning is more of a habit that embeds itself in yourself so that you become more active, curious and feel more satisfied with your life.
By now, you must have got the answer to the question of what lifelong learning is. The reality is that every human being is a lifelong learner as he/she continuously gains knowledge irrespective of whether they are consciously seeking it.