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Lifelong Learning is the Most Crucial Educational Mindset

Posted on 01/29/2015

Life-Long learning begins with a single step

In a January 2, 2015 post External link opens in new window or tab, Edudemic staff present resources, research and schools of thought about Lifelong Learning as a mindset. Here are excerpts of interest to adult education and technology integration.

According to Gerhard Fischer External link opens in new window or tab, director of the Center for LifeLong Learning & Design External link opens in new window or tab (L3D) at the University of Colorado, Boulder, "lifelong learning is an essential challenge for inventing the future of our societies; it is a necessity rather than a luxury to be considered … It is a mindset and a habit for people to acquire. It creates the challenge to understand, explore, and support new essential dimensions of learning such as: (1) self-directed learning, (2) learning on demand, (3) informal learning, and (4) collaborative and organizational learning." Fischer explains that lifelong learning "requires progress and an integration of new theories, innovative systems, practices, and assessment." For teachers, putting in this kind of lifelong work will help better amplify their capabilities, collaborate with colleagues, and transform in turn the way their students navigate the world.

Fischer also describes the pace of change in the 21st century as being "so fast that technologies and skills to use them become obsolete within 5-10 years." Ask any educator if he or she was using Edmodo, iPads, apps External link opens in new window or tab, Chromebooks, or other such technology in his or her classroom ten years ago, and you would likely get a negative response. Yet, technology is an essential part of teaching and learning today, and teachers must be knowledgeable about technology in the classroom to meet state requirements and prepare their students for their futures outside the classroom walls.

Fortunately, teachers who adopt a lifelong learning mindset are not intimidated by technology in their classrooms or in their students' hands. They are willing to learn about technology from their students and fellow teachers and adapt their teaching practices to meet the demands of their 21st century students. Moreover, digital literacy External link opens in new window or tab is a critical component of education today, and teachers must know how to teach and assess it in their classrooms. The bottom line: Being prepared to teach in the 21st century automatically equates to being a lifelong learner in the 21st century.

Many more interesting resources are presented in the article External link opens in new window or tab about teachers facing challenges, learning on the job, easing big transitions, fostering creativity and lifelong learning enhancing technology usage and innovations.