The concept of lifelong learning has become increasingly recognised and valued in recent years. Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is based on the principle of a commitment to ongoing learning. The following article explains the relationship of lifelong learning with CPD and the many benefits it offers personally and professionally.
What is Lifelong Learning?
In short, lifelong learning is the recognition that learning continues beyond formal education or professional qualifications. It is about an individual continuing to develop skills and knowledge throughout their life and career. Lifelong learning can relate to both the personal and professional, and can involve a variety of different learning methods.
Actively engaging in CPD is an expression and fundamental aspect of lifelong learning, as it encourages looking forward and identifying opportunities to learn something new, refresh existing knowledge, improve skills, or simply keep up-to-date with the latest developments within a particular profession or industry. It allows for individuals to continually ‘up skill’ or ‘re-skill’ themselves regardless of their occupation, age or educational level.
Why is Lifelong Learning important?
There is an increasing awareness and understanding from individuals and organisations that formal education and qualifications are not alone sufficient to ultimately achieve fulfilment and success in the modern world. Therefore, a commitment to lifelong learning and CPD is essential to fully facilitate continuing growth and development.
In the personal sphere, lifelong learning could be as simple as developing the skills and knowledge to pursue a hobby. Alternatively, it could be learning a new language in order to travel or reading and learning more on a subject of interest. In any example, an engagement with lifelong learning allows individuals to gain more fulfilment and meaning from their personal life.
From a professional perspective, qualifications and formal education are key foundations but not enough to remain most effective professionally. With rapid changes in technology and the workplace, it is crucial that individuals find opportunities to continue to develop skills and knowledge that allow them to maintain productivity in the work environment.
Employers now understand the importance of continuing to develop the capabilities of their workforce. It is also a critical part of the recruitment process – employers will look for transferable skills and wider experience beyond basic qualifications when selecting potential employees. Pursuing lifelong learning opportunities through regular Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is essential to remain competitive in the market and to develop the skills necessary to enhance career progression.
What are the benefits of learning for life
Lifelong learning and CPD has numerous and far reaching benefits for both individuals and organisations. The following explains some of the key benefits of ongoing learning:
Benefits for individuals – Participating in lifelong learning and CPD fundamentally benefits individuals by allowing them to gain more fulfilment from their personal and professional lives. It can increase self-confidence through building a greater understanding of society and the world around, but also through the sense of achievement in successfully learning something new. It also improves motivation by providing a focus and framework for pursuing wider personal and professional goals.
Lifelong learning and associated CPD is crucial professionally. Continuing to develop new and relevant skills ensures individuals remain productive and successful in the workplace. It is also the means by which individuals facilitate developing their career. Building wider skills and knowledge improves employability whilst enhancing possibilities for higher renumeration and promotion. CPD offers greater flexibility to an individual. Rather than the rigid and sometimes limited framework of formal education, learning for life continually presents opportunities to improve and develop through methods that can be both formal and informal.