Lifelong Learning

The world of work is driven by changes ranging from innovation and climate change to migration and globalisation and these changes are profoundly challenging the way we all live and the way in which we work to live. It’s also the reason why everyone is constantly “in school” and adult learning is becoming more and more common, despite the fact that it comes with its own share of challenges.

Malcolm Shepherd Knowles (1913-1997) was an American educator known for the use of the term, “Andragogy”. According to Knowles, andragogy is the art and science of adult learning. Knowles made five (5) assumptions about the characteristics of adult learners that are different from the assumptions about child learners (pedagogy).

  1. Self-concept: Adults move from being dependent on others to self-direction as they mature.
  2. Experience: Adults gain experience as they grow that, in turn, becomes a valuable tool in learning.
  3. Readiness to learn: The priorities of adults shift as they begin to increasingly value and are therefore more ready to learn about his or her role in society.
  4. Orientation to learning: Adults change their perspectives on learning as they grow, moving from procrastination to immediate application and from subject interest to problem-solving.
  5. Motivation to learn: Adults move from extrinsic towards intrinsic motivation as they grow and mature.

Basically, it takes a great deal of effort and motivation but the success of it is linked to how you view your place in society and just how much you are willing to sacrifice in order to earn your goals.

Challenging? Yes. Worthwhile? We simply don’t know.

Yet, we persevere.

Adult learners have to balance all demands and if you do decide to embark on this journey, expect to give up many things that once seemed very important and to replace them with personal invaluable qualities. Among these qualities you will find efficiency and there is certainly a place for that in this new pandemic world. We can add confidence, introspection and pride in there. 

Remember, you’re not starting from scratch. You’re starting with a mature mindset and the ability to create solutions based on experience.

But perhaps, most importantly, what you choose to pursue at this time should focus on shaping a workplace of the future – a future that shows among other things, that you can do anything at any age, including a return to the classroom.

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