What is Lifelong Learning? Four Benefits You Don’t Want to Miss

By DeVry University

As you continue to move forward in your career, you might be planning and evaluating your goals and even envisioning yourself in your future role. Where do you see yourself in five or ten years? And how will you ensure you develop the skills you need in order to get there?

For many, the answer is lifelong learning. But exactly what is lifelong learning and how can it help you achieve your goals? Let’s take a look at this concept of continuous education along with four benefits you won’t want to miss out on.

What is Lifelong Learning?

Lifelong learning is the ongoing process in which you continue to educate yourself and build new skills over time. Whether you’re looking to provide more value at work, pursue new employment, learn a new hobby or enhance your soft skills, there are education options that can help you get there.

Lifelong learners can often be found:

Lifelong Learning Benefits

Many commit to lifelong learning goals because they believe it keeps them relevant at work. One Pew Research Center study found that 54% of workers viewed on-going training and skill development as critical to their career success.

Other lifelong learning benefits can include:

1. Enhanced Perspective

One unique advantage of education is the ability to share the journey with people of all backgrounds. Not only do you have your own personal and professional experiences to bring to the table, but you can also learn from the experiences of classmates and professors from around the country or world.

A well-rounded perspective can be valuable in both your business and personal life. In many learning environments, you’ll typically collaborate with peers on team projects, assignments or discussion threads. By sharing your ideas and receiving feedback from classmates and faculty, you have the opportunity to gain a global perspective on complex issues.

2. Health Benefits

It’s no surprise that learning can have a positive impact on your career – but did you know it could improve your health as well? Here are just a few of the potential benefits:

  • Reduced Stress – A recent study from the Journal of Applied Psychology suggests that people engaging in learning activities may be less likely to experience the effects of stress - including negative emotions, unethical behavior and burnout.

  • Neuroplasticity – Activities that stimulate your brain, such as learning new things, impact your brain’s plasticity. Neuroplasticity refers to the brain’s ability to form and reorganize its connections – essentially, it drives your ability to change and adapt as a result of your experiences. This can potentially mean improved memory and a better ability to recall things quickly.

  • Delayed Memory Loss Symptoms – In fact, studies have shown that people who engage in learning activities can potentially delay symptoms of Alzheimer’s, improve their memory and offset cognitive decline. By challenging your brain, you can help it grow and improve.

3. Increased Confidence

As you build your skills, your self-confidence often builds, too. You may even find yourself better equipped to handle challenges at work and in your personal life.

Oftentimes, when people become comfortable in their routines new tasks can seem daunting. For those in the habit of lifelong learning new experiences become more exciting. So as your confidence increases, your sense of accomplishment, enthusiasm and personal value can grow with it.

4. Improved Productivity

Education is also linked closely to productivity as learning can help you develop vital critical thinking and decision-making skills that allow you to be more efficient with your time. Immersing yourself in a new area of interest can help you feel both challenged and more fulfilled, which can naturally increase your drive to succeed.

Often, procrastination comes from not only a lack of motivation, but also from being overwhelmed, striving for perfectionism and having goals that are too abstract. Engaging in lifelong learning helps to motivate you, build out achievable goals on an on-going basis and tackle your tasks with a renewed zeal.

Get Started with Lifelong Learning

Does your career development plan include lifelong learning? Now that you understand the benefits, you can start to set aside time for continuous knowledge building. Here are a few ideas that can help build your perspective and grow your confidence:

Regardless of the type of lifelong learning you choose to pursue, remember that it’s all about you – your interests, health and vision for your future. You just might discover a new talent or skill that leads to personal or professional development and fulfillment.

In addition to online programs, DeVry University offers complimentary resources to aid in lifelong learning by helping you gain new skills, sharpen your existing strengths and ultimately build healthy habits that can last a lifetime.

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