Committing to Lifelong Learning


“We now accept the fact that learning is a lifelong process of keeping abreast of change. And the most pressing task is to teach people how to learn.” – Peter Drucker

Since the 2017 ASU + GSV Education Technology Summit, I’ve been reflecting on a presentation that had hundreds of education experts excitedly agreeing on one profound point: lifelong learning is a requirement of the modern world.

Learning is changing

It wasn’t long ago that our paths for learning in life were fairly straightforward – you went to school before moving on to college and, after graduating, you began your life as a working professional. You presumably would have learned everything you’d need to know for the different phases of your career during your time as a student. There wasn’t much of a need to think about education and learning past those primary milestones.

asu gsv lifelong learning

In today’s society, that approach simply isn’t practical. Industries are evolving rapidly and there is now more information to learn than ever before. According to a recent report from IBM Marketing Cloud, 90% of the world’s data was created in the past two years alone. Taking that into consideration, think about how the technology you use on a daily basis has changed over the last few years. From the apps on your phone to the backup camera on your car, the technologies you use have likely changed significantly in recent years. (And it’s pretty incredible!)

The IoT, AI, and ML

The IBM report also concluded that the introduction of new devices, sensors, and technologies to our daily lives will accelerate the speed at which we are creating data. Consider smartphones and how they’ve changed our everyday lives. They’ve changed the way we consume and share information, how we communicate with each other, and how we learn. Not only have smartphones made it easier to learn as part of the internet of things (IoT), but they’ve also played a significant role in shaping how information is created.

The IoT, alongside artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), are key factors to consider when discussing the need for lifelong learning. Looking specifically at engineering and manufacturing, the IoT, AI, and ML have had a major impact on the job market. Much of what used to be done manually has been replaced by automated options that improve speed and efficiency, leading to a decline in job opportunities. With continued advancements in technology, AI, and ML, it’s likely we’ll see more jobs lost to automation in the future.

florida international university

At the same time, these things are opening doors for entirely new career opportunities. For example, at Florida International University’s College of Engineering and Computing, you can now complete a degree in IoT. The convergence of coding and design is creating the need for a whole new kind of product designer. The future standard skillset of an engineer or designer will have to include an in-depth understanding of coding and software integration to ensure the usability and operability of their products.

Committing to lifelong learning

We have essentially found ourselves in a highly connected society where there is always new information to take in and we must create our own opportunities through the pursuit of knowledge. Evidence shows that not only is lifelong learning a necessity, but that people want to learn.

According to a survey from the Pew Research Center, more than half of all working Americans think that they will need to develop new skills during their career. The same survey showed that 45% of working Americans enrolled in a class or sought out extra training to learn and improve their skills. In a different survey, conducted by ManpowerGroup, 93% of millennials are even willing to spend their own money on training and furthering their education.

Embarking on the journey of lifelong learning as a society is a symbol of our progress and innovation. Each new advancement and invention presents us with an opportunity to learn, adapt, and grow. Our commitment to lifelong learning will continue to spur us forward.

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Tony Glockler
About the Author

SolidProfessor Co-Founder and CEO, CAD junky, sailer, surfer and former world traveler (before kids, that is).