Importance of Lifelong Learning

Instructor: Jessica Keys
Your quest for knowledge doesn't have to end at the classroom door, or even after you've donned the tassel and gown. Make education a part of your adult life and reap the professional and personal benefits of an insatiably curious mind. It's never too late to start! Begin your journey today with this article about making lifelong learning an essential part of your life.

Why Lifelong Learning is Important

Lifelong Learning refers to the voluntary decision to enroll in educational courses or to study a topic on one's volition. While the term may seem to apply especially to those who have already earned a college degree or entered the workforce, lifelong learning is vital for everybody, no matter the age or level of education.

The courses and activities taken on by the lifelong learner may culminate in some kind of certificate, license or even a degree, but this is not necessarily the ultimate objective. With lifelong learning, the goals may not be so clear-cut. Lifelong learners tend to keep themselves motivated with the desire for more knowledge and self-improvement, or there may be career aspirations in mind.

However, the most important aspect to lifelong learning may be its beneficial effect on general wellness.

Lifelong Learning for Lifelong Benefits

A lifetime of learning can keep both the body and mind in shape. Research has suggested that continued cognitive activity has a positive effect on brain cells and helps promote mental sharpness, especially for senior citizens.

Physically, lifelong learning can entail taking exercise or dance classes, learning how to swim or even picking up a new sport. It includes learning ways to stay active that are enjoyable for you--good news if you can't stand the treadmill!

In any case, taking up a class or hobby can be a social activity as well as an educational one. You can make friends with similar interests and get involved with the communities you care about, curbing loneliness and stress. Your avocation may bring opportunities for travel, giving you a chance to see more of the world, to experience life in another culture and to gain perspective on your own.

Lifelong learning means exploring the things that make you tick, expanding your horizons and becoming an active participant in your personal and professional life.

Personal Learning

Maybe you've taken up an interest in photography, carpentry or archaeology? Was it your childhood dream to learn how to figure skate or fly a plane (or both)? Perhaps you always wanted to learn a different language--or even a computer language--but during college, you just couldn't stomach the idea of 6:00 AM Japanese?

Lifelong learning enriches your life with the things that spark your curiosity, simply because you want to know how, what or why. The subject may be personally significant (e.g., learning about genealogy to trace your family roots), but you do not need to be enrolled in a formal degree program to develop your own interests.

Professional Learning

Lifelong learning can also fortify and round out the skills you need to excel in the working world. For example, current technical skills, such the ones you can develop with's complete, self-paced courses in Java Programming, Microsoft Excel or Microsoft Powerpoint, are always in demand.

Depending on the nature of your work, your place of employment may provide (or inform you about) relevant courses, expositions, seminars or even travel opportunities designed to help you perform better, network and advance in your field. Such opportunities are usually strictly optional, but taking advantage of them may give you a professional edge.

If you are unemployed (or underemployed), learning something new can improve your resume, as well as your chances of moving towards a more desired or better paying position. Likewise, if you are having trouble discovering what kind of career you want and you don't know where to begin, why not explore How to Find a Career Path with In five chapters, you'll learn about career paths, how to set goals and how your education or field of interest--traditional or not--can help you find the path that's right for you.

Earning College Credit

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To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

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