Why Is Lifelong Learning Important For Career Advancement?

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In the past, once you completed your tertiary studies, there may have been a perception that you would get a job, work, and never need to study again. But this isn’t true of the world we now live in. The rate of change, interconnectivity, and increased competition means that not only are there more online learning opportunities than ever before, it’s also become essential to upskill to stay current and grow your career. To explore this further, we discuss some of the reasons why lifelong learning is so important.

People are naturally curious

Human beings have always been curious, which means that we’re constantly pushing the envelope when it comes to making advancements across industries, from science and technology to psychology and personal development.

When it comes to psychology in particular, we have also been diving deep into what it means to be human, and how we can best work together to create a better, more effective, and sustainable world.

To do this, we need to be creative and come up with ideas on how to work together, which is why personal and professional development is so essential.

The knowledge economy

We’re naturally curious, but this curiosity is not only a nice-to-have when it comes to learning new things, it’s also an essential part of contributing to the knowledge economy.

The knowledge economy refers to how the exchange of ideas and concepts has become just as valid a form of trade as exchanging goods and services. We only have to look at the growth and success of large social media companies, and Google, to know that knowledge is golden.

Businesses don’t only rely on marketing and production to thrive, but also the ability to work together with others to grow sales and make an impact. This makes having an in-depth understanding of interpersonal communication a helpful tool, and one of several in-demand skills.

Learning and unlearning

Interestingly, to advance in your career, and grow on a personal level, you need to be able to both learn, and unlearn. As Master Yoda most famously said to Luke Skywalker in Star Wars Episode V, The Empire Strikes Back, “You must unlearn what you have learned”.

This doesn’t mean that all of our knowledge needs to be thrown out the window, but that we should constantly be re-evaluating our beliefs and assumptions, especially about the people around us.

The increase in the number of eLearning opportunities now available means that you don’t have to study for a full academic degree to gain this kind of insight into human behaviour, which is obvious from the many Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) available from various universities around the world.

Skills-based learning

We’ve established that human beings are naturally curious, that unlearning and learning are important, and that there are many opportunities available for online learning, but where do you start when it comes to choosing a course, or a skill to master?

This is where skills-based learning comes in. While you can do many general courses, and learn a lot of valuable information, it makes sense to focus on developing specific skills to add to your resume, which can offer immediate value in your chosen career.

Upskilling, professional development and career advancement

So you’ve decided to upskill, but which capabilities are the most valuable right now? Professional development has been a hot topic for many years, but in a rapidly changing world, it’s become even more critical to have a versatile and adaptable skill set, which can help you to be more agile, especially in a world where job descriptions and locations can change in a short space of time to adapt to changes on a global scale. 

From a global survey on LinkedIn, some of the most in-demand job titles in 2021 include business development and sales, experts in workplace diversity, professional and personal coaches, and mental health specialists.

This certainly speaks to the fact that so-called “soft skills” are becoming more and more highly prized, which means that there is a need to facilitate the learning of these kinds of skills, including understanding human behaviour, managing people, essential communication, and leadership and management skills.

For more visit: www.sacap.edu.za