Trends In Lifelong Learning

Technology continues to change everything in our lives, from shopping to entertainment to educating our families. Lifelong learning (LLL) is an evolving process. Wherever you are in the pipeline, technology will influence how you take in new information and ideas. I looked into a few LLL trends and thought about my experience with online learning.

As you know, Dr. Patti and I earned our doctorates online at Walden University. We’re big fans of the online platform for its flexibility, convenience, and focus on self-directed learning. Here’s an overview of some LLL trends.


This explores a learning experience that lasts for 30 seconds or 30 minutes. Thanks to the Smart Phone, anyone can take a quiz or survey in a few seconds.

I like the convenience of this process. But in the real world of writing something like a dissertation, you’ll need a string of microlearning events. I used microlearning mostly to skim articles, abstracts and research summaries. For more robust reading I needed focus and concentration over convenience.

Virtual Conferences

In my doctoral program, we were required to attend a series of residencies. These were face-to-face meetings to network with other students, faculty, and staff. After I finished all my residencies, I tried out a virtual residency.

It was an interesting learning experience based on webinars, videos, online chats, and live meet ups.  I enjoyed the convenience and flexibility to pick and choose activities  (drop in sessions, flash chats, forums, no travel hassles). Overall it was a fun learning process and technology is great when it works.

Social Learning

This is not a new idea since people have been blogging, tweeting, liking and sharing for a while now. The goal of social learning is to create a learning experience to give people something useful.

The learning experience should give people something of value – new ideas, information, new knowledge. Avoid wasting band width by sharing useless information. Think value and focus on ideas that people need. Value helps them make better decisions and discover new ideas.

Content Marketing

CM favors open access and giving away information. You leverage free information, generate repeat visits, and turn visitors into paying clients.

Clearly, education falls into this group with examples like Coursera and Kahn Academy. Content marketing is used in webinars and job talks to attract clients with useful information. Again, you want to create an experience for people – give them something of value.

Alternative Credentialing

Alternative credentialing is an interesting trend. These days, certificates are a new standard for continuing education. Certificates, badges, and micro credentialing are very popular to promote excellence in learning.

Certificates are a type of validation that people can display in the informal learning world. For-profit and non-profit organizations promote badges and certificates to identify new standards in skills or disciplines. However, certificates are not widely recognized or transferable in the job sector.


This is a personal favorite as a means to level the field of ideas, good or bad. Self-publishing is the equalizer for distributing and creating content. This platform includes blogging, YouTube, Facebook, WordPress and online databases.

Self-publishing is an entrepreneurial tool for any subject matter expert, or anyone who wants to promote teaching and learning. In self-publishing, the world is your oyster.

So if you have a story to tell, explore these trends in lifelong learning. Pick one or combine them to get your message out.


Dr. Bessie

Source: 12 Trends (Still) Disrupting the Market for Lifelong Learning and Continuing Education

Once you stop learning, you start dying.
~~Albert Einstein~~


Author: Dr. Bessie DiDomenica

Food Policy Researcher • Resilient Agriculture Advocate • Public Speaker • Public Policy Wonk • Writer • Teacher • Social Entrepreneur • Associate Editor

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