24 May 2022 – Lifelong learning helps keep our minds sharp, maintain an edge in the workplace, and stay up-to-date with new developments in our field. But for many people, this is easier said than done. One way to become a better learner is by following the top 10 habits that successful lifelong learners follow.
1. They identify gaps in knowledge
Master learners zero in on areas where they might be lacking. This involves being comfortable and aware of areas of improvement. It's not always possible to know everything, and there's no shame in admitting that you don't have an answer to a question. In fact, this can be an opportunity to learn something new.
2. They make learning a priority
People who want to achieve their long-term goals are committed to making lifelong learning a priority. They schedule time for learning every day, whether it's reading articles online, watching educational videos, or attending seminars and workshops.
3. They have diverse interests and hobbies
Successful lifelong learners are always on the lookout for new experiences. They understand that without diversity in their interests, they won't be able to learn as much about themselves or the world around them. They don't limit themselves to one area of study; rather, they immerse themselves in many areas of interest and expertise. As generalists have a more diverse collection of knowledge to draw from, businesses need them to connect the dots.
4. They make time for learning
It can be difficult to find time for learning. However, setting aside time each day (or week) for active learning can be a great way to ensure that learning is a regular part of one's life. This might involve dedicating an hour each day
to reading, attending webinars or participating in online courses, or it could mean reserving a few hours each week to work on a personal project or study for an upcoming test. No matter how it's done, making time for learning is essential if lifelong
learning is to become a reality.
5. They embrace discomfort
When discomfort and uncertainty are approached as an opportunity for personal growth, lifelong learning becomes easier. It's natural to feel some level of anxiety or uncertainty when trying something new. However, those who are dedicated to lifelong learning don't shy away from this feeling; instead, they see it as an opportunity to learn and grow. This might mean attending a lecture on a topic you aren’t familiar with, signing up for an online course for the first time, or asking questions when it's necessary to further your understanding.
6. They partner with the right educational institute
It is important to recognise that lifelong learning is not something that people are able to accomplish on their own. Lifelong learners who wish to stay at the top of their game must seek out educational opportunities, including seminars, courses and lectures. Choose an institute that has a proven track record of success, and that can offer the latest and most relevant information in the subject areas that are most important to you.
Also, look out for initiatives that help propel your learning. For example, SkillsFuture Singapore offers subsidies on SkillsFuture Series courses for Singapore Citizens and Singapore Permanent Residents. Find out more about funding schemes here.
7. They are actively curious
Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it’s what sustains a master learner. One of the most important habits of lifelong learners is an actively curious and open mind. Being a lifelong learner requires constant FOMO — not fear of missing out on a social event, but an opportunity to advance your skills or gain a fresh perspective. When you’re curious about a subject, you are more likely to remember the information you learned about it. One way to fuel curiosity is by asking questions, which leads to improved learning outcomes. Active curiosity also helps foster relationships with others who might be able to offer valuable insights and knowledge.
8. They seize every opportunity
While it may be impossible to pursue education everywhere and all the time, those dedicated to lifelong learning recognise opportunities for learning anywhere. This can come in many forms: reading while waiting in line at the bank or supermarket, listening
to educational podcasts while driving, participating in a webinar during lunchtime — the possibilities are endless. The key is to seize opportunities, and not wait for them to come to you.
9. They collaborate with others who are also dedicated to lifelong learning
One of the most important habits of successful lifelong learners is collaborating with others. Master learners often find that they learn best when they're interacting with others who have similar interests. By exchanging ideas and asking questions, lifelong
learners can continue to expand their knowledge, while also learning from those who have been practising these skills for a lifetime.
10. They make learning an enjoyable part of their lives
The people who are happiest and most successful aren't those who avoid challenges, but those who welcome them and refuse to let obstacles get in their way — including the challenge of learning new things throughout their lives. If you learn to love learning and spend time each day on activities that expand your mind, it won't feel like work — it will feel like play. And when learning becomes play, there's no limit to what you can accomplish!
There you have it! The top tips from successful lifelong learners that will help power up your own learning journey. Remember, learning is a commitment you make to stay on top of your game. Whether you’re looking for a mid-career switch or eyeing your next promotion, NUS offers a diverse range of future-ready programmes and courses to support you in your learning goals.
If you're interested in applying for a modular course or certificate programme, applications are open right now, and will close on 5 June 2022. Don't miss the chance to level up your skills - start searching for a suitable course on our Course Catalogue today!