If someone asked you to name the last time you learned something new, chances are you’d think back to the last time you studied at school or uni. It’s pretty natural to equate ‘learning’ with formal education. What about lifelong learning?

But most of the facts, skills and thought processes we learn don’t come from textbooks and lectures. The old saying “you learn something new every day” rings true, especially given that we’re lucky enough to live in a country with good internet access and established infrastructure.

I would consider myself a lifelong learner – I’m always looking to explore and discover something new. Perhaps it’s the lawyer in me, always wanting to understand the gritty details of whatever topic is taking my fancy at the time. The ability to “Google” has opened up a whole new world of education that didn’t exist even just 5 or 10 years ago.

Below Are 3 Benefits of Lifelong Learning:

Gives You More To Talk About.

A study from Europe concluded there are benefits in three major areas: 

  • economic (more skills for employability), 
  • personal well-being (personal confidence, cognitive practice), 
  • social – and the ability to engage on a wide range of topics

One of the social benefits of learning new things is that you’ve got more to talk about, which opens up your ability to connect with new people on different levels. 

It’s been suggested learning helps starve off age-related cognitive decline, including dementia and Alzheimer’s. Possibly because your brain needs to keep “working” and create new pathways to capture the new information you’re taking in.

The takeaway here is that continual learning gives you more to talk about, provides some interesting conversation starters and helps break the ice with someone you might not have much in common with – it’s the ideal networking tool.

Boosts Your Business

I personally see the value in lifelong education when I’m networking and looking for future business opportunities.  

Many vocational education and professional training providers offer short courses or intensive ‘taster’ classes. Allowing you to get an overview or a skill you need to work on.  

This is something I actively am involved in both from an attendee point of view but also a mentor and facilitator.  I’m currently a mentor and expert in residence at Thinclab at the University of Adelaide.

Taking a couple of hours out of your schedule on a random weeknight could be the start of a learning journey that shapes your business and opens up ideas that you hadn’t previously thought about.  An entrepreneurial mindset to explore new ideas and concepts.

Satisfy Your Curiosity

Ever wish you’d taken a different path at school or uni, so you could gain a deeper enjoyment of something that fascinates you now? 

There’s nothing wrong with exploring an area just for your personal satisfaction that varies from your initial industry or area of expertise. In fact, it’s one of the quickest pathways to the above mentioned lifelong learning benefits.  

For example, I am involved in a gospel choir outside of my “lawyer” work – two ends of a large spectrum. But the creativity that comes with learning to sing, helps to train the other side of my brain. 

Tips and Tricks:

Keep an eye out for festivals and events with free classes. It might be your city’s arts festival, writers’ festival etc. Eventbrite is a great option to explore free business events in your area.

Look up institutions near you and check out their courses. There is often quite the range of short courses available as a ‘taster’ of what it’s like to undertake further study. Some institutions also offer free courses.  

Go Online LinkedIn Learning offers one of the best platforms for on-going learning as does edX.Both can be shared with your teams.


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