Over these past months the COVID-19 pandemic has caused havoc across the world and has forced us to create new definitions of everyday life. When it comes to education, our institutions are changing too – specifically through online and distance learning. As parents, students and educators across all levels adjust to ‘the new normal’ one thing is clear – learning has moved out of the classroom and into everyday life.
Why is lifelong learning important?
This idea that we can learn from anyone, anywhere at any time is not a new concept, but it is essential during these times of turbulence. Practicing how to learn and expanding our perspectives as a community will be our greatest asset as we redefine our; approach to economic growth; tolerance of economic and social inequalities; relationship with nature, and the society we want to live in.
What is lifelong learning?
With that in mind, we’re excited to announce that lifelong learning is the theme for National Engineering Month 2021 (#NEM2021). The European Commission defines lifelong learning as “all purposeful learning activity undertaken throughout life with the aim of improving knowledge, skills and competencies within a personal, civic, social and/or employment related perspectives.” Leading up to #NEM2021, we encourage you to become a lifelong learner, but you may be wondering what exactly that means.
10 Characteristics of a Lifelong Learner:
- They read – a lot. Reading helps us gain a better understanding of different topics, ideas, perspectives and people. Reading can transform how we see the world.
- They take courses. Lifelong learners believe there is always something new to learn. For example, Conestoga College offers many continuing education programs to help people enhance their skill-sets.
- They seek new opportunities. Lifelong learners say yes to things that push them out of their comfort zones because they know these experiences often lead to great learning opportunities.
- They embrace change. Change is hard, but lifelong learners know that change is a part of life and it often leads to personal and professional growth.
- They are curious. Lifelong learners want to understand different people, places and cultures. They want to understand how our world works.
- They are open to new perspectives. Lifelong learners know there is more than one way to see the world and when different perspectives collide, innovative solutions can be found.
- They set goals. They know what they want out of life and are focused on achieving what they set out to do.
- They love making progress. It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey. Lifelong learners know that progress takes time and they celebrate the small wins that eventually lead to big successes.
- They don’t give up. Instead of throwing in the towel when things get hard, lifelong learners persevere. They work hard and ask for help when they need it.
- They believe it’s never too late. Lifelong learners know that an old dog can learn new tricks if that dog is so inclined. Age is not a factor in picking up a new skill or hobby.
Embrace lifelong learning and attend a #NEM2021 event.
All NEM Ontario events are organized and led by volunteers across the province. Throughout each week in March #NEM2021 events will be curated to topics that are relevant to our community. These include: working with interdisciplinary professions; equity, diversity & inclusion; spotlight on the college and university challenge and; ethics, engineering’s impact on society, resilience, wicked problems, and the future. Please visit nemontario.ca to attend an upcoming event.