Top 10 characteristics of a lifelong learner

Apr 20, 2017, 12:48 PM by Faith Robin, senior talent and organizational development consultant at UTMB

Lifelong learnerLifelong learning blends formal education with continual professional and personal development. As technology advances quickly, lifelong learners have to learn new skills and adapt to rapid changes in professional and personal environments. The following tips can help you stay connected, stay motivated and identify new ways to grow and develop:

  1. Know your interests. If you could learn a new skill, what are you most interested in learning? Is this new skill for professional or personal reasons or both? Even if you can’t apply it directly to your job, following new interests can help you become a more passionate, well-rounded professional.
  2. Acknowledge your learning style. Everyone has his or her own way of learning new things. For example, do you learn best by reading, writing, listening, or by a hands-on approach? Choose lifelong learning resources that cater to your best learning style and preferences.
  3. Set goals. Commit yourself to learning by setting clear goals for what you want to learn, how you plan to go about it and how long it will take. Don’t forget to reward yourself once you have acquired this new knowledge.
  4. Develop good reading habits. When was the last time you read or listened to a good book? Good reading habits open up new adventures and explorations into other cultures and worldly experiences.
  5. Seek resources. Find out about learning opportunities online, in your local library, or at your local college and university. Many offer continuing education opportunities that are fun and educational.
  6. Join a group of like-minded learners. Have you heard of www.meetup.com? It is a great place to put in a few descriptors about yourself and find others in your area that enjoy the same experiences.
  7. Get Involved. Volunteer in a church or in your community to help meet people, learn about various opportunities and give service to others in need.
  8. Share your skills and knowledge. Do you crochet or cook or enjoy ceramics or drawing or music? Why not share your expertise with others? By communicating ideas to others, you are more likely to solidify that knowledge in your brain.
  9. Take an online course or attend a course at your local college/university. If you don’t have the time, find a webinar or four- to six-week course in your area that is interesting and fits your budget and schedule.
  10. Stay curious. Lifelong learning is about staying active and staying curious in your mind, body and spirit. Pick one of these 10 ideas and begin today.