What is Lifelong Learning?

An older woman learning at an adult education centre.

Lifelong learning is the idea of continuing to pursue educational development beyond an individual’s compulsory education. A form of self-initiated personal development, adopting a mentality of lifelong learning can help you meet professional ambitions and achieve personal fulfilment.

However, what does this mean in real terms? Why is lifelong learning important, and what can it help you achieve? Finally, what are the easiest ways to kickstart your adult education journey? In this gude, we answer all of these questions and more as we take a deep dive into lifelong learning.

What is the importance of lifelong learning?

From a personal perspective, lifelong learning is important for two reasons. Firstly it can help individuals to achieve professional ambitions. From gaining that qualification you need to land a job in your dream profession to gaining new skills to see you progress, education is at the heart of professional development.

Secondly, lifelong learning can feed an individual’s passions, whatever they might be. Humans have a natural drive to grow and explore. Learning throughout your life helps to indulge this need. This can lead to a better quality of life and a sense of self-fulfilment. Whether you have a passion for photography or want to start a new career in hairdressing, lifelong learning courses can help you reach your goals.

And the beauty of this? Age and/or past experience are no barrier to your professional development.

More than ever before, lifelong learning is being viewed as increasingly valuable to employers too. After all, if employees continue to develop and grow their skills while they work, this can only be beneficial for the business. With the working environment changing faster than ever, retraining and upskilling is essential. This means lifelong learning is just as important for employers as it is for ambitious employees.

Why is lifelong learning important for long-term career success?

Lifelong learning is crucial to long-term career success because it shows your employer you are striving to improve. It demonstrates you want to upskill and become a more valuable employment asset. However, it’s equally important if you are looking to start a career in a new field.

From signing up to an online course to attending vocational night classes, lifelong learning can help you to build sector-specific skills. From a standing start, you can become employable in a new industry through gaining a new qualification. With different levels of qualification to complete, lifelong learning can help you progress in your new profession, improving your chances of achieving long-term career success. This development can also continue even after you’ve started in a new role.

What are the benefits of lifelong learning?

There are four main benefits of lifelong learning. These are:

  1. Opens up career opportunities
    As touched on above, lifelong learning enables you to become a more skilled (and therefore more valuable) employee in your current field. It also provides the opportunity to excel on a new career path, should you choose to try something new. With adult education courses in everything from business and management to fitness and beauty, the willingness to continue learning means new opportunities are just a qualification away. This is regardless of your age or current employment status.
  2. Boosts quality of life
    The benefits of self-improvement through learning go far beyond career progression. Adult education also has the power to improve your general quality of life. Aside from professional growth, lifelong learning can reduce boredom by helping you discover (or rediscover) your passions. Individuals can feel more creatively satisfied, which in turn can make you feel happier. To put it simply, learning makes life more interesting.
  3. Improves confidence, motivation and mental health
    One of the often overlooked benefits of learning something new is its positive impact on your mental health. Learning new skills helps to build a sense of achievement and fulfilment. In turn, this can reduce feelings of anxiety and sadness by making you feel more confident. Success breeds success, and this sense of achievement can be addictive. In this way, lifelong learning can help you to reignite your passion for life. In turn, this boosts confidence, motivation and general mental wellness in the process.
  4. Accessible for all
    Whether you’re challenging yourself to gain a new academic qualification or simply to learn the piano, the beauty of lifelong learning is anyone can do it! The rise of online resources and distance learning courses means lifelong learning is easy. Location, age, and even how much you earn is not an issue. In some cases, all you need is internet access and you’re on your way. With flexible 24/7 courses, learning around your own lifestyle is also simple.
  5. How to learn with an online course

    If you are committed to lifelong learning, online courses are a great way to learn new skills. Significantly cheaper than university qualifications, online courses give you access to the resources and professional support you need to learn. For example, here at ICI, we offer over 50 distance learning courses. These courses range from traditional business, law and finance courses to vocational qualifications in beauty, design, health and fitness.

    Online courses are ideal for lifelong learners. They typically work by providing all resources you need on an online portal. This portal can be accessed at any time, anyplace via the internet. You will also be assigned a personal tutor. You will be given the opportunity to book meetings and study sessions with these tutors to enhance your learning experience.

    Enrolling on an online course is simple. However, it is first important to ensure the provider you are enrolling with is legitimate. To do this, make sure they are accredited by a trusted body. For example, ICI is registered to the International Approval and Registration Centre (IARC).

    The fastest way is to enrol online. Simply visit the page for the course you are interested in and complete a quick and secure registration form. Once you have registered and have set up a payment plan, you are ready to start learning.

    Online, career focused education that suits your lifestyle.

    See our courses
    Gladys Mae


    Gladys Mae serves as the General Manager and Head of Student Services at the International Career Institute. Gladys holds a degree in Mass Communication - Broadcast Media from the University of San Jose-Recoletos. She joined ICI in 2010 and has over the past 12 years been instrumental in providing leadership and guidance to staff and students alike. Prior to joining ICI Gladys led a multifaceted career with key roles in the banking and business process outsourcing industries.