“We stand on the brink of a technological fourth industrial revolution that will fundamentally alter the way we live, work, and relate to one another” (World Economic Forum, 2016, para.1). The Fourth Industrial Revolution has started and the survival in this revolution depends on certain skill sets. Critical-thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity are the required survival skills of the 21st century. To develop and enhance these skills, I believe that lifelong learning is a must. Alvin Toffler has written that “the illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read or write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn” (Stanford Magazine, 2002). Thus, unlearning and relearning is the ‘mantra’ to survive.
If I say that life-long learning is a contemporary thought, I would be wrong. The Hindu mythology divides a human life span into four ashrams – Brahmacharya, grihast, vaanprasth, and sannyas. The four ashrams require different roles that entail different skills. Thus, we have been lifelong learners. Contemplating today’s times, I have seen various professions that call for lifelong learning – medicine, science, technology, research, education, law, politics are just a few. Creative fields like photography, music, painting, etc. also require updating of knowledge. Keeping these points in mind, I have been learning new skills, language, pursuing courses, etc to upgrade my knowledge and skills. Currently, I am pursuing a Master’s in Advanced Education from the University of the People. Apart from being updated in the field of education, my learning journey provides me with food for my thoughts, it answers thousands of questions that I have related to education. It brings me peace, gives me a sense of worth, and helps me in planning better engaging lessons for my students. I believe that creating lessons that help my learners develop 21st-century skills, gives me a purpose. This provides meaning to my learning.
How can you become a lifelong learner?
Questioning your belief system is the first requirement of being a lifelong learner. I believe one should always reflect and critically analyze their actions. The second step would be giving time for yourself. Nothing is more important than self-growth. The third step is to be open-minded for criticism or feedback, and do not be afraid to make mistakes. Learning should never stop.
A Learner…. ALWAYS!
World Economic Forum, 2016. The fourth industrial revolution: what it means, how to respond.
Stanford magazine, 2002. Embracing the need to ‘Learn and Relearn’.
About the Author
Divya Raghav, Primary School Educator
I am an educator and a learner. I have done my Master’s in Chemistry from University of Allahabad. After taking a sabbatical for family, I have done a course in Career Counselling from University of California, LA; Post Graduate diploma in International Education from ITARI, Bengaluru. Right now, I am pursuing Master’s in Advanced Education from the University of the People, USA. I believe education is the key to the world problems and the learning should never stop.