I truly believe that majority of us are lifelong learners, weather you’re a teacher, a dentist, or a farmer. Learning doesn’t stop when school ends. Especially in this day and age, with technology and multimedia it’s hard to stay on top of everything new all the time. It’s a continuous job of learner and training.
I think being a lifelong learner is realizing that everything around us is an opportunity for a new learning experience. I might be taking a structured course through VCC at the moment but I am also learning about becoming a farmer. We just got mini goats, I don’t know anything about goats. I have to learn what they eat, how much they eat, and what is bad for them to eat. I don’t just have to learn how to feed them and I am done, it’s not that simple. I now need to continue my learning as they grow. Do I need to ween them from their mom? When do they breed? How do I take care of a baby goat if mom abandons it? Being a farmer is an ongoing learning experience, taking skills and knowledge I have learned and building on it. Some days its google teaching me, some days it’s the nice gentlemen at the farm store or sometimes I learn from the goats! Farmers do lots of stuff on their own, without vets.
So I am not sure that lifelong learning is just for professionals? I think lifelong learning is for everyone. The reason to be a lifelong learner are endless. I think as a professional it might be more of a must then a choice. If you’re a farmer you do it because you have to. I don’t think Vets makes house calls, and if they do it not cheap. As a dentist you’re a lifelong learner because your business depends on it! If you don’t upgrade and stay current, with all the latest and greatest gadgets, your patients are going to wander down the street to the next office that has all those fancy new gadgets, and a coffee bar too!!
Personally I think you just need to find something you are interested in, to want to learn about. I think if a student finds relevance in what they are learning they are more motivated. I feel this is especially important in creating lifelong learners. They need something to motivate them and create that drive to learn more. Everything I have been learning with my PIDP’s is relevant to my new career as an instructor. I am new to instructing and am eager to learn. I have a feeling that even as I become more of an experience instructor my love for learning, and my journey of being a lifelong learner isn’t going to change. I have been a certified dental assistant for over 16 years and still I get excited about learning new materials, and gadgets. I know that my passion for instructing is going to keep me striving to continue learning.