I’m reading a book by Daniel Susskind called A World Without Work and it makes for some fascinating reading. Once I finish it and have a chance to put some thoughts on paper about it, I’ll share a video review on YouTube.
This year I’ve been reflecting on a lot of things namely, trying to ‘flip’ my own mindset which may have held me back in some ways over the years.
I figure that I need my values and ideals to be challenged and stretched in order for me to let go of some ‘traditional’ thinking that may have closed me off from questioning more and accepting less.
I’ve also been looking at my belief system around my work, learning and professional development that may have set me back because I didn’t allow myself to reconsider alternatives. Instead, I’d get angry and frustrated at myself for not learning and understanding quicker and not taking opportunities which I saw as obstacles initially.
Most of all, I kick myself that I accepted a few of the louder voices online without having the confidence in my own voice and strengths.
One of these examples is doubting myself when it came to social learning – especially as it pertains to lifelong and continual learning – and the part that employers play in this to help their workers be part of a new workplace or even a new society.
Instead, I let my peers in corporate Learning and Development sway my thinking because this topic was seen as ‘too abstract, too conceptual’ for them and not related to ‘real world’ (namely, workplace learning).
As lifelong learning not directly relevant to a specific job or task, instead it’s about building ‘soft skills’ such as communication, co-ordination, creativity, curiosity and networking. Therefore, it wasn’t seen as critical or important compare to specific job skills or enterprise needs. This resulted in many giving it ‘lip service’. As such, when others don’t find it important, you have a hard time trying to influence them to see value in it and over time, you then start to doubt your own abilities.
I shouldn’t have let the doubt creep in.
Why? In comes COVID, climate change, the MeToo movement, workplace change, mass unemployment, technological unemployment and now I’m thinking that I should have stuck to my guns regarding continual and lifelong learning.
Lifelong learning is ‘not nebulous’ nor is it frivolous or ideological.
Similarly, as work is changing – as is the definition of work – thanks to big shifts in society, there’s going to be times when your job simply changes TOO MUCH where you’ll be in a constant state of learning new skills or tasks within the job OR your job (or part of your job) will be entirely automated and undertaken by a chat bot, algorithm or machine of some sort. Then, no matter how much you try and keep up your job or task specific skills, it will be a pointless exercise. So rather than just focus on this type of workplace learning (around a job skill or task), employers must also be looking at helping their people to learn how to learn BEYOND work – and giving them LIFE skills.
So I would now say that lifelong learning is now a matter of critical importance to every human being – regardless of age or gender because without it, we will be denied a voice in how we want to serve society and the freedom to live in it.
So I’m going to call it out now and say that Lifelong Learning MUST be now considered as a human right.
Regardless of where you come from, your age, gender, your formal schooling and education, lifelong learning must be easily available and accessible to you. To be denied the right, time, space and place for learning, will deny you the freedom to be part of a new society and one where your voice can be heard. Employers and governments need to include some provisions to allow for people in their society to be given access to free resources, opportunities, learning spaces, courses and communities from which to learn new skills and experiences – and NOT to have restrictions placed on who gets what when it comes to learning. I believe that continual and lifelong learning must be publicly funded – free to citizens and especially provided to minorities, women and other disadvantaged groups – and not just tied to specific employment conditions (because let’s face it, they’re going to change) and instead driven by the individual but with support from government.
Over time, I’ll be exploring more about lifelong and continual learning on this blog.