Author Archives: Leodis Scott

Value of lifelong learning stands out for Millennials


According to the 2016 Deloitte Millennial Survey, work/life balance and opportunities to progress are among leading factors (beyond pay and financial benefits) for evaluating job opportunities. Such factors signal an appreciation for lifelong learning within organizations that promote a collaborative work environment.

In fact, 76 percent of millennials prefer a more creative, inclusive culture rather than an authoritarian, rules-based work approach. Millennials globally reported greater work satisfaction that supported positive values, such as:

  • Open and flee-flowing communication;
  • Mutual support and tolerance; and a
  • Strong commitment to equality and inclusiveness.

Such emphasis on the organizational behavior of today’s work environment reinforces the essential value of lifelong learning.

Gloria Cordes Larson, president of Bentley University, cites this study by commenting that Millennials clearly understand the value of lifelong learning and its importance to acquiring new skills, staying ahead of market trends, even staving off “potential boredom” at work (“What to do when you’re bored with your job,” Fortune, April 2016).

The future value of lifelong learning has yet to be defined for the millennial generation. But a glimpse seems to reveal that entire work systems and organizations will have to change in order to accommodate the whole person.

Millennials are lifelong learners, who balance time, talent, and commitments and who work, not from a corner cubicle, but across a connected domain.

 

Most Americans considered Lifelong Learners


73% of adults consider themselves “lifelong learners” according to a recent Pew Research Center report on Lifelong Learning and Technology (March, 2016).

In America according to Pew, there are two types of lifelong learners: personal learners and professional learners.

Personal lifelong learners participate in activities that interest themselves including attending courses, workshops, and seminars for personal development.

Professional lifelong learners connect to opportunities for career advancement by taking courses for improving job skills and expertise.

This report also highlights a new and exciting trend in learning that will continue across generations. However, barriers to participating still persist related to educational level, household income, and technology access.

A looming question surrounding the emerging field of lifelong learning, is how can all people, despite academic, economic, or social status, actively learn at every stage of life?

Providers of learning must be prepared to offer courses and activities for more than personal and professional learners, and begin to shift Americans’ interests toward the lifelong betterment of communities, cities, and a larger “learnlong” society.

Rethinking Learning for Changing Education


Lives matter, actions matter, even words matter. What these signal are the values of humanity for treating everyone as equal; they highlight the power of coming together and the importance of communication by choosing the words we use.

So when we say we’re “learning” something, why does that matter, and what does learning really mean? 

Learning is best described as a process, which is different from a product or a collection of information. It’s this process that means we are always changing, modifying, and refining what we know, do, value, and prefer.

What’s interesting is that many of us suggest that learning occurs in designated areas such as schools, workplaces, or traditional spaces built for learning, namely universities, museums, and libraries.

But something as simple as learning (an always changing process) being housed in places that doesn’t change, makes me also wonder what we really mean, even more, what really matters, about our “education…”

 

State of Lifelong Learning: 5 New Opportunities


In a season of State of Union addresses, it seems quite fitting to offer a brief statement about the status of lifelong learning for upcoming years.

As Jeff Cobb points out in Leading the Learning Revolution, lifelong learning represents an emergent opportunity in how we deliver and consume learning. But more than that, lifelong learning has entered a phase that is no longer optional or discretionary.

In the upcoming years, lifelong learning will be mandatory, in other words, essentially required in order to sustain a better quality of life.

The long-awaited time for lifelong learning has finally come. After forty years, when Congress introduced the “Lifelong Learning Act” as an amendment to reauthorizing the well-known Higher Education Act, it unfortunately did not pass. Still the ultimate purpose of it captures the growing need to introduce federal policy that improves learning opportunities for individual citizens in local communities.

Given how learning and education have changed over four decades, such a social policy needs to be reassessed to meet the needs of multiple generations. From the mature generation, baby-boomers, GenXers, to the millennials, lifelong learning presents an opportunity for everyone, regardless of age, education level, job or social status.

With this in mind, I present five emerging opportunities for lifelong learning in the upcoming years:

1. Learning Cities: The topic of learning cities and regions represents how lifelong learning can be implemented in metropolitan areas with diverse learning needs.

2. Adjunct, Contingent, and Community College Educators: Learners and Educators are joined together in the new lifelong learning landscape such that educators who were considered on the fringes of education will now dominate a central role in the collective mainstream of higher education.

3. Lifelong Learning Policy: The historic Lifelong Learning Act only points to the need for cities and communities to begin creating social education policy that considers lifelong learning-for-all, “from cradle to the grave,” beyond traditional schooling.

4. Learning Assessment and Analytics: Data and the analysis of data will only increase in the upcoming years where lifelong learning will require formal assessment tools and analytical measures to inform decision-making to implement policies and programs.

5. Quality of Life: Issues such as obesity, diabetes, and other health concerns cannot be left to medical doctors to solve, but actually health and community issues represent an overall quality of life concern for an entire population. Public health will require lifelong learning to play a part in informing and practicing healthful actions. Lifelong learning for our quality of life includes not only health concerns, but also the multi-literacy of common problems that threaten the vitality and well-being of every community.

So the State of Lifelong Learning is extensive and in the upcoming years it will be “trans-formative” in changing mindsets, commitments, and actions for the sake of learning without end.

Lifelong learning as a family affair


Talking to people about “lifelong learning,” without ever providing real-life examples, has been something I’m often guilty of. Sure, lifelong learning describes how individuals continue developing personally and socially, but what actions would specifically count as lifelong learning?

Even better, how would others recognize you are involved in lifelong learning and participate with you?

A promising response and real example on behalf of lifelong learning come from Northeastern University’s president, Joseph E. Aoun, when he announced that through their “Lifetime Learning Membership,” parents and siblings can also go to college at a 25% discount (John O’Neill; news@Northeastern).

What is so inspiring for other colleges to consider is that President Aoun announced this at their university’s parent-and-family weekend, stated that “learning is a lifelong endeavor,” and matched his words-with-deeds by introducing this innovative, “first-of-its-kind,” lifelong learning program.

Lifelong learning-in-action may naturally exist outside the campuses of colleges and universities, yet this ground-breaking effort may provide another real way to do lifelong learning, not simply as an individual matter, but as a family affair.