“There are few educators who would disagree with the principle that lifelong learning is a good thing but the important questions are about the types of learning that the concept promotes, the life that it encourages us to lead, who benefits from this and the nature of the society that it upholds.”
Lifelong learning is a pervasive concept. It is reinforced in workplaces and by the educational community. The question must be asked, though, where should this addition learning take society? More must come from an individual’s learning than self-serving short-term requirements. Knowledge shared has much greater value that knowledge hoarded.
Lifelong learning has been something I have been very conscious of throughout my career. I have considered sources of learning, and the path that my ongoing exploration will take me. But where the departure is where the benefit to society and the nature on the whole? I do not have an ultimate answer to this yet; further reflection on how I use my education must be completed. A good first step is to readily share my knowledge when the opportunity presents itself.
Part of my role in encouraging lifelong learning will need to include leaving my students with some direction that they can go for the next step in their learning. As a facilitator of adult learning, I will need to keep abreast of learning opportunities in my field (Construction). This can include tradition paths like completing related degrees such as tradespeople completing BCIT’s management training like the Bachelor of Technology in Construction Management, or attending continuing education programs that allow for mid-career moves which utilize past experience like VCC’s Provincial Instructor Diploma Program. Academic education is not the only source of lifelong learning. Short-term workshops can gain new skills and certifications. Making use of other experienced co-workers or employer’s practicing in similar fields can be a source of development as well.