Education does not happen at a specific point in life. Thus, the term not only refers to the fact that every individual should be encouraged to learn in educational institutions that extend over a lifetime, but learning is an everyday phenomenon that extends over the entire lifetime, i.e., including the childhood and adolescence phase. The concept of learning itself is understood as the constructive processing of different information and experiences into knowledge, insights and competencies. However, each individual learns not only to acquire new knowledge, but also to reanalyze and reinterpret old experiences.
To further illustrate the importance of lifelong learning, I would like to introduce the term half-life – or even better, the half-life of knowledge. Knowledge is not permanent, it becomes worthless and old over time. Thus, we have to acquire new knowledge at any time in order to counteract the half-life and to maintain our place in society, and this only happens if we learn every day and renew and expand our knowledge.
In order to really have lifelong learning with us throughout our lives, there are a number of prerequisites that need to be met in order for this to function smoothly. Once the motivation to learn, as well as the learning of learning, so the learning competence and finally also the competence to steer that learning itself, so a certain learning organization competence, are conditions, so that a lifelong learning can be suggested.
Probably the best motivation for lifelong learning is the experience that learning makes sense. To foster this, it requires a certain learning and teaching culture that conveys the joy of learning and also the joy of achievement. The learning environment can also positively influence the acquisition of subject-specific as well as generic competencies. A person’s environment should be included in the learning process, including both the organization and the design of workplaces that are conducive to learning. Thus, people must be enabled to find, select, evaluate and apply knowledge, which can be accomplished with the help of competence.