Whether you work as a truck driver, manager, receptionist or CEO, the current moment is a perfect reminder of why all of us should commit to and take advantage of the many ways we can easily become lifelong learners.
For example, regardless of industry, Covid-19 forced people overnight to learn new things like how to navigate a variety of video conferencing solutions, discern how to effectively communicate via instant message and, most importantly, decide which method is a better fit for a particular conversation. Those whose industries were particularly hit hard had to look into learning something totally new in order to pivot, survive and thrive.
But to be clear, lifelong learning doesn’t always have to be about gaining new career skills. Lifelong learning takes many forms, from podcasts by experts to webinars and online courses.
The world as we knew it pre-2020 is gone. Too much has happened for our society, businesses, and governments to return to the way they were before. Instead, they need to adapt, which requires new skills. Take, for example, the drastic acceleration of digital transformation. It’s been accelerated by five years due to the pandemic and global lockdown. Fifty-eight percent of workforces report skill transformations have occurred since the onset of the pandemic.
Businesses and individuals are ill-equipped to deal with further disruption in 2021. Opportunities will pass by due to a lack of people with the right skills. We’ll have to grapple with new roles, new ways of working, new industries—not to mention the increasing prevalence of automation, artificial intelligence, and other emerging technologies. In the long-term, businesses also must consider how they will use technology as a competitive advantage and the skills they must develop now to achieve this. Indeed, as many as 375 million workers (14 percent of the global workforce) will need new skills by 2030 due to emerging technology. This need hasn’t disappeared because of the pandemic but actually accelerated.
Simone Lewis had extensive experience in Higher Education – as a senior lecturer in sport psychology and coaching – and also in high performance, having been an athlete, coach and administrator.
The idea behind ECAS was to develop the professional skills of 20 high-potential Academy coaches (one from each club) every year, but ultimately it ended up being about much more than that.
“The existing FA qualifications were only ever designed to develop the technical side of coaching,” Lewis explained. “ECAS was intended to complement that, by developing the leadership, personal and professional skills that nobody ever teaches you.
“No-one teaches you how to be more self aware, how to be a better communicator, how to manage conflict, how to recruit staff, how to develop leaders. It was about all of that.
March was National Literacy Month. Research indicates that children’s literacy skills are strongly linked to the educational level of their parents, especially their mothers. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents start reading out loud to their children from the time they are born.
A large body of research has also shown that children who are exposed to books at a young age go on to have stronger vocabulary skills, higher literacy, pay attention and concentrate better, and are better prepared going into kindergarten.
Students typically finish their formal education somewhere between the ages of 18 and 25 – but learning does not stop when one leaves school. Lifelong learning complements a traditional formal education trajectory and refers to the continuous self-development of an individual and the adoption of new knowledge and skills on an ongoing basis. More importantly, it is also a key component of employee development and business strategies.
“Master adaptive learners distinguish themselves by going into a ‘theory-building mode’ to build new schemas when the features of a problem do not fit their knowledge structures,” wrote the authors, Klara K. Papp, PhD, professor of health learning, and Patricia A. Thomas, MD, vice dean of medical education, at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine.
“They go through the effort of asking ‘why’ questions and seeking to understand what is not explained by what they know,” they added. “They go through the mental effort of trying to understand all of the features of unknown problems rather than attempting to fit problems into existing schemas.”
“The first half of 2020 was all about reacting and adapting to the COVID-19 pandemic as quickly as possible,” notes Alex Farrugia, Director of the Directorate. “Now that we’re in 2021, our initial teething issues have long since been ironed out. It’s time to look ahead.”
The pace of change is the fastest it has ever been and the slowest it is ever going to be. In the face of ever-evolving technology including advances in automation and artificial intelligence, how will today’s businesses adapt to maintain their competitive advantage while becoming more resilient? The answer lies in fostering an environment that promotes and provides lifelong learning opportunities.
Among the many lessons during the historic year, this year’s annual Condition of Education report from the Rennie Center, a research and policy think tank, highlighted just how much communities rely on their education systems. In addition to basic learning, public schools fill a variety of needs for children like food security, technology access and mental health services.
One of the beautiful parts of childhood is the fact that kids don’t have conditioned reactions to differences in people. How many videos have you watched on social media where children of different races, cultures and abilities are playing together without conflict? I tack those up with my favorites like the animal videos of the mouse and cat becoming friends.
Written By: Michele Carlson, Esko Community Education |