Why it is Important
Unlike in the past, when an employee could spend all of their professional life working for a single company, today's workers can expect to change from company to company, and sometimes even jump industries, in the context of their career. Going from salaried employee to freelancer, or starting one's own company, is also becoming an increasingly common phenomenon.
For individuals, the above reasons make lifelong learning an increasingly important aspect of professional growth, as it allows them to keep up with new technologies and workflows and thus increase both their productivity (in their current job) and their employability.
For businesses, lifelong training (and, increasingly so, its online, eLearning-based, version), helps ensure that their senior employees remain up to date with the latest market and industry changes. This allows companies to get more value from their experienced senior employees and to improve the long-term career prospects and job satisfaction of new hires (thus raising employee retention).
Benefits of doing it
For educational organizations and companies that sell commercial eLearning courses and programs, positioning themselves as lifelong learning providers allows them to take advantage of this latest trend in professional education and to develop a longer-term relationship with their learners (as opposed to one that finishes upon the successful completion of one or more courses).
Lifelong learning programs work well with a subscription model and are a great fit for industries or skills where there's always newer developments or further areas to study. These industries include anything from IT (where programming languages, OSes, standards, etc. change constantly and working professionals have to keep up with them) to audio, video and multimedia studies (where production techniques and tools similarly change with technology), aviation, and numerous other industries.
For larger enterprises running their own training programs, offering a lifelong learning plan helps them keep employee skills up to date, and combined with appropriate career advancement opportunities, helps maximize the potential of a company's existing workforce and reduce (costly) employee churn. This means that businesses can more easily adopt the latest productivity enhancement technologies and respond quickly to changing conditions.
Lifelong learning is less useful for industries or business departments that rely mostly on short-term and seasonal hires (e.g. the fast food industry, parts of the hospitality industry, etc.), but it can still be applicable in those type of businesses to train the core of long-term personnel and management staff.
How can it be applied to your company
Lifelong training programs work best for educational organizations (universities, public education, etc.), companies selling commercial courses, and for larger enterprises and organizations.
Lifelong training programs and eLearning offerings focusing on continuous learning have been adopted by major universities, commercial training providers, and bigger companies that offer their employees the option to take any kind of skills enhancing courses.
Lifelong learning programs can take several forms.
Some, for example, are focused on providing continuous education centered on a particular subject matter (e.g. providing continuous professional education for doctors or lawyers and keeping them up to date with the latest developments in their fields). Often those types of re-education and/or periodic re-evaluation programs are mandated by law or industry rules.
Typically in such cases, the learning provider that runs the lifelong training program keeps adding learning material for all skills levels and gradually introduces more detailed or specialized content as the learner progresses through their training.
Other lifelong training programs are more like conventional eLearning programs, offering a variety of courses on various subjects, but focusing on mature learners looking for personal development or improved career prospects.
How TalentLMS can help
For all its specific goals and target audiences, lifelong training is not different in execution to other kinds of modern enterprise and/or academic training.
This makes TalentLMS, the industry leading Cloud-based eLearning management system a great fit for implementing lifelong training too.
Some features that will help you facilitate Lifelong Training
Finally, TalentLMS is a great turn-key solution for those that want to start their own lifelong training business or enterprise program, but don't have the IT skills (or budget) to setup their own servers.
Being a Cloud-based platform frees you from worrying about its installation, maintenance, or backups, and allows you to focus on how to best run your lifelong training program.
Lifelong Training is not just an increasingly popular training market, but also an educational practice that uniquely answers to the needs of the 21st century job market and workplace.