Many of us may have heard the term ‘lifelong learning,’ as it relates to an educational journey that may span several decades or even a lifetime. However, this term is often used to refer to the kids of education that happens within formal settings for adults – in classrooms such as on college campuses, or certificate programs that might prepare us for a career in a specific field. The term ‘lifewide learning,’ was created to acknowledge that adult learning happens in a nearly infinite range of places and situations, most of them outside the traditional classroom. Although we generally think of learning as intentional or deliberate, lifewide learning acknowledges that learning frequently happens unintentionally. Navigating these unexpected situations as opportunities for growth, no matter how frustrating, help us to develop resilience.
For students ending the semester
and reflecting on what they learned from classes, the biggest takeaways may not
have been from the syllabus or class assignments. For example, maybe the shock
of receiving a bad grade on an important exam caused you to reexamine your time
management and study strategies in ways that will ultimately help you succeed later
in life. As students across Campus embark on summer internships, or perhaps a
new job after graduation, remember that your biggest opportunities for growth
may also be spontaneous or unplanned. You might find that your next job
experience is something very different than what you expected. Again, rather
than dwelling on this disconnect, be open to what you do learn. Uncomfortable
or challenging situations can be particularly important opportunities for
personal growth, if we are open to the lessons they bring.
 Source: Reischmann, J. (2019). Lifewide learning – Challenges for Andragogy. Journal of Adult Learning, Knowledge and Innovation, 1(1), 43–50. https://doi.org/10.1556/2059.01.2017.2
By Staff Writer: Jennifer Kobrin, Learning Fellow