The Importance of Lifelong Learning

Purpose: to inspire anyone to consider adopting an ongoing process of learning.

Audience: anyone interested in self-improvement, but particularly focused on the benefits of Lifelong Learning from a career standpoint.

Lemuel Cantos, flickr(CC BY 2.0)

Jaakobou, Wikipedia, PD US not renewed

Albert Einstein said: “Wisdom is not a product of schooling, but the lifelong attempt to acquire it”.

mark sebastian, flickr, (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Hi, my name is David. I started my Lifelong Learning journey in earnest about a year ago by becoming engaged in social learning courses like MOOCs.

Vernon Fowler, flickr, (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

I haven’t looked back since and I’d like to share with you a story

Daniel Stockman, flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0

about why we should all consider a life of learning.

US Navy photo, Wikipedia, CC-PD-Mark

In the 1970’s most jobs did not require a degree. People could find work in manufacturing industries like steel, automotive, and shipbuilding.


Improvements in manufacturing productivity, process automation, and international competition have reduced the number of manufacturing jobs to half what they were in 1970.

WestonStudioLLC, flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

High school graduation is no longer sufficient for most jobs.

Matthew (WMF), Wikimedia CC BY-SA 3.0

Two thirds of jobs today require at least some post-secondary education. That includes jobs in fields like Software Engineering ...

Douglas H. Stutz, Wikipedia, CC-PD-Mark

… Medicine ...

Jeff McNeill, Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 2.0

… or Aerospace


According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs requiring more than a High School Diploma will grow much faster than average over the next decade. In fact, jobs needing Masters Degrees will grow twice as fast as those that only need a High School Diploma.

Viewminder, flickr, (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

But what about all the thousands of jobs in the hospitality sector that don’t require a degree? Surely those are safe from automation…aren’t they?

RoboCup2013, flickr, (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Well, there could be a robot named Asimo heading your way. Asimo can bring drinks to your table...

Vanillase, Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0

...and even conduct an orchestra.

Shaun Dewberry, flickr, (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Asimo can recognize when a handshake is offered and face a person when spoken to, making it perhaps the ideal restaurant greeter. It never gets tired, it never gets moody and it never takes a day off.

Matthew Hurst, flickr, (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Even if we do have a University Degree, it’s by no means a job guarantee today.

Glen Scarborough, flickr, (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

The economy moves in sequence with the swings of the stock market and we never know which way it will turn.

David Shankbone, flickr, (CC BY 2.0)

Things can get ugly very quickly

MyEyeSees, flickr, (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

and in our interconnected world, can lead to global recession.

Der Wunderbare Mandarin, flickr, (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

But as the great coach Vince Lombardi said, “It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get back up”

Maryland GovPics, flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Should we wait for the authorities to solve the problems, or should we take responsibility for our own futures?

Dave Morris, flickr, (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

With the widespread availability of broadband Internet, it’s never been easier to learn something new from home,

Markus Spiering, flickr, (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

or anywhere that has a WiFi or Wireless Internet connection.

Mathieu Plourde, flickr, (CC BY 2.0)


Massive Open Online Courses or MOOCs are a new innovation in Lifelong Learning

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…that can provide a solution to our ongoing education needs without going further into debt

Aftab Uzzaman(CC BY-NC 2.0)

because most MOOCs are free and available to anyone…

Adam Fagen, flickr, (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

with content from some of the world’s best Universities

Eric, flickr, (CC BY-ND 2.0)

But why should you care about “Lifelong Learning”?

Lane Hartwell, Wikipedia, CC-BY-SA-3.0

Because Lifelong Learning is about more than just taking courses, it’s about building a movement…

Hauptillusionator, flickr, (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

a movement that one day might change the world.

Luke Dorny, flickr, (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

a movement that will make a better future for our children and our children’s children