Hello everybody. Life Well Learned is my new blog about promoting lifelong learning enabled and driven by technology supported by wellness. That’s a mouthful. Yes it might be but I believe that it’s important. Let me explain.
What’s lifelong learning to me?
According to Wikipedia, lifelong learning is the “ongoing, voluntary, and self-motivated” pursuit of knowledge for either personal or professional reasons. I like this definition, but it’s not what most people think lifelong learning is. My take is that lifelong learning is fundamentally an individual’s pursuit of knowledge and wisdom throughout one’s life. It’s a valuable and beneficial pursuit at any age, it’s not learning and activities for seniors as it is often described in our culture. It means what it says, learning throughout all of one’s life, and it’s ongoing, voluntary and self-motivated. It’s also about the belief that people can and should be learning all of the time as they go through their daily lives. It’s a philosophy, a mindset, and an approach to life and learning that anyone could and should have about intentionally always learning throughout one’s life, each and every day. It’s also about being open to new knowledge, information and insights. It could be learning about anything about life, self-improvement, wellness, education, technology, philosophy, history, politics, culture, cooking, business, people, science, languages, or anything that comes up and interests you. Learning is powerful, both the process and the results. The process brings benefits and power, the results brings knowledge and can bring wisdom to the individual.
How does lifelong learning compare to education, aren’t they the same? I believe that there are key differences, as they are really targeted for different kinds of audiences. My approach to lifelong learning is really about the pursuit of knowledge for the sake of knowledge itself, for the participation in the learning and discovering process, and for what it does for a person and how it makes one feel. Learning in the education system K-12 and through higher education is primarily aimed at preparing individuals to be adults and even more so to prepare them for careers or work. For some individuals, which I believe is a small percentage, the goals of both are similar but this is not the case for most people. The current mainstream description of lifelong learning is primarily about seniors. I don’t agree with this description, and prefer to use my description. In fact I want to change the mainstream thinking about it and I’m making this my cause to do so. I will also deal with the concept of lifelong learning as it applies to seniors in future posts.
The field of technology applied to lifelong learning is related to educational technology, or edtech, as almost all edtech can apply and be used for lifelong learning technology. Following the edtech industry will be important on this journey, as most developments in edtech will impact my area of interest. As an engineer by training, and technologist by profession, I strongly believe that technology (a topic for many future posts) is a powerful enabler and multiplier for lifelong learning and should be used to the fullest extent. Technology is powerful, creates new possibilities, allows people to do things that haven’t been possible before, but can also create issues and challenges that must be managed or avoided. Technology as applied to lifelong learning has a long way to go and I believe that we are still in the early stages of it’s development. There have been many technological developments in this area and there are many more innovations on the horizon that will provide new benefits and capabilities, facilitate new approaches, and enable many to accomplish things previously thought impossible. Technology impacts everyone’s lives and there’s much that we haven’t yet envisioned. Technology for lifelong learning will be a significant focus area of this blog based on my keen interests in it. Remember, technology has it’s positives and negatives as well and there are huge benefits from regularly getting away from technology; benefits to one’s overall mental and physical wellness. Going outdoors, exploring nature, exercising, meditating, focusing on relationships, socializing, reading, and even contemplating life should all have important places in one’s life. This is an important aspect of wellness as well!
I fundamentally believe that lifelong learning is an important, beneficial and powerful pursuit and that can affect one’s entire life and should be thought of in that way. One’s state of mind, physical well being, and spiritual beliefs can impact one’s desire, interest and experience related to learning. To get the most enjoyment and benefits from lifelong learning having body, mind and spiritual wellness is important, and in some ways can be considered a necessity in the pursuit of lifelong learning. Gratitude is also a part of it as I believe gratitude has a role in both wellness and learning. A part of lifelong learning is also about being grateful and giving back, helping others to learn, providing training and helping others in their learning journey; this is a topic for another post. Lifelong learning and wellness are beneficially linked, they have a positive correlation and impact each other. If one believes in and pursues lifelong learning one should also pursue body, mind and spiritual wellness.
Let’s focus on lifelong learning, technology and wellness. Let’s learn together, let’s advance the knowledge and thinking in it, let’s learn and work on our wellness as we do this. We will make it easier for lifelong learners to learn about and access knowledge and developments in these areas. I know that I’m going to learn much along the way. I also hope to contribute to discovery or creation of new developments, innovations, and technologies that can benefit everyone.
This blog is part of this adventure. Let’s take the journey together. I look forward to hearing from you.