Education has never been more important. Unlike in the past, learning has become a lifelong process. It doesn’t end when we leave school.
Over the last fifty years, the concept of learning has evolved. Learning can no longer be divided into a time and place to acquire knowledge and a time and place to apply that knowledge. Learning is now a continuous process that takes place in different contexts and at all ages.
As Mark Twain said, “Never let formal education get in the way of learning”. That’s the essence of lifelong learning.
In 1995, the World Commission of Culture and Development proposed four essential pillars for an education system that would meet the needs of an ever-changing globalized world.
The four pillars are: learning to know, learning to do, learning to be, and learning to live together.
Learning to know is about acquiring knowledge and understanding. It enables people to think critically and develop their own opinions. It’s the foundation of all learning.
Learning to do refers to the need to develop new skills and abilities. Theoretical knowledge needs to be put into practice, and this can only be done with the necessary skills.
Learning to be focuses on the need to develop our self-identity, including values and beliefs. Embracing diversity is essential to managing complexity and fostering creativity. Collaboration is the ultimate source of power in this ever-changing world.
Finally, learning to live together is about developing tolerance and understanding of different cultures and beliefs. We need this to cooperate and interact productively with others.
Perhaps for the first time, we’re looking at learning from a holistic perspective, considering the need to develop knowledge, skills, and abilities throughout life.
Since future-proof education is a myth, the only way to keep up with the times is to provide ourselves with learning before the need arises. In this sense, we need to find a way to fill the gaps, reskill and upskill to fulfill our personal and professional needs.
In addition, investing in ourselves gives us a sense of purpose, broadens our perspective, and makes us feel part of what is happening around us.
Lifelong learning is the key to personal development. The perpetual apprentice mind opens the door to curiosity, improvement, and change. This may be the source of eternal youth.