Pragmatic economic concerns often dominate discussions about learning and education. In them, individuals are sometimes viewed as resources whose knowledge, skills, and competence can be improved to achieve a competitive advantage in a globalized economy. It is true that people often focus on improving their skills and knowledge to get ahead in their careers. But such a narrow view of learning ignores the many other reasons why people learn.
At a fundamental level, people learn to satisfy a need or achieve a desirable outcome. They may be driven by a need to fulfill a sense of curiosity and a will to understand how the world works. They may also be driven by other psychological needs like wanting to achieve more autonomy in their lives, experience mastery, or make social connections. When people want to bring about a change in themselves or in their surroundings, it is achieved by learning. People’s reasons for learning are often dependent on their mindset and may significantly impact their motivation to learn.
report for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The pillars can be interpreted as objectives for their vision of lifelong learning:and others emphasized four pillars of learning in a
- Learning to know: Acquiring knowledge, both general and broad, as well as specialized and in-depth in some areas. This pillar also includes learning to learn, a skill that enables people to benefit from future learning opportunities.
- Learning to do: Developing skills and competence to succeed at work.
- Learning to live together: Developing an understanding of other people and cultures. Fostering peace, pluralism, interdependence, respect, and diversity.
- Learning to be: Enabling individuals to reach their full creative potential. This pillar involves developing all aspects of the self, including autonomy, judgment, responsibility, memory, reasoning, aesthetic sense, physical capacities, and communication skills.
Academic literature frequently references the four pillars of learning, but the pillars leave much room for interpretation. Based on a synthesis of several sources, the following can be considered as possible objectives of lifelong learning.
- Problem solving: People learn when they have a challenge they want to solve or a need they want to fulfill, but don’t have the required knowledge or skills to do it.
- Employability and adaptability: Acquiring the knowledge, skills, and competence to stay relevant and make a contribution in a dynamic and competitive economy.
- Personal development and self-fulfillment: Individuals engage in learning to pursue their personal interests and goals. This may include learning for its own sake to satisfy a feeling of curiosity or for pure enjoyment. People may also be motivated to achieve a level of mastery in a certain skill.
- Social and cultural benefits: Many learners are motivated by extrinsic factors such as the achievement of status and recognition. Other learners are motivated to contribute to the improvement of their communities and even the world. Learning can promote social inclusion and cultural understanding. Allowing people of different backgrounds to live and work together has the potential to both minimize conflict and improve lives. Additionally, learning is a prerequisite for informed and active participation in society, especially in democratic systems.