As early as 1929, Basil Yeaxlee, an adult educator, wrote, “We discover more, and not less, need of adult education as we make progress. It will not have a fair chance until better preparation is made for it during the years of adolescence. On the other hand, we are unlikely to achieve a thoroughly sound and complete system of -primary and secondary education until the adult members of the community, by continuing their own education, realize how mischievous a thing it is to abbreviate or mishandle the school-education of ‘boys and girls. But adult education, rightly interpreted, is as inseparable from normal living as food and physical exercise. Life, to be vivid, strong, and creative, demands constant reflection upon experience, so that action may be guided by wisdom, and service be the other aspect of self-expression, while work and leisure are blended in perfect exercise of ‘body, mind and spirit, personality attaining completion in society. “(Yeaxlee 1929: 28)
Indeed, research shows that adults who continue to pursue academic, athletic or artistic interests stay healthier, happier and remain productive members of society far longer than those who don’t. And in our fast paced, ever changing world, it’s more important than ever to be a lifelong learner. Paul Takayanagi, in an article in Elder Journal titled “Lifelong Education: The Importance of a Curious Mind,” cites the following facts and figures:
- 62% of persons 50 years and older want to learn new things for three reasons; to keep up with what’s going on in the world; for their own personal or spiritual growth; for the simple joy of learning something new.
- A large number of adults 50 years and older want to learn new things for job enhancement; 74% of persons 50-59; 45% of persons 60-74; and 33% for those age 75 years and older.
Future generations of persons over 65 years old will be more educated, more financially successful, more familiar with technology and more interested in “lifelong learning” than any previous generation before them.
- 36% of persons 50 years and older use the Internet to learn new things
- 65% of persons over 65 years who currently use computers surf the internet several hours per day.
- 73% of persons over 65 years who currently use computers use the internet for educational purposes.
- Current generations of persons over 65 are becoming more familiar with computers and other forms of technology than previously expected.
- Future generations of persons over 65 will have a higher degree of familiarity with using computers and other forms of technology for educational purposes with a corresponding higher expectation for educational programs utilizing technology.
Families who learn together across all generations, live well together, help strengthen schools and communities and contribute at many levels to an educated, civil and sound society.
To that end, Learning is For Everyone is proud to support Lifelong Learning through our web based resources and community efforts. Please explore the links in our Lifelong Learning section in our Resource Directory, and learn about the wealth of opportunities for lifelong learning. As always, use common sense and reason when evaluating these or any other resources, and be sure to cross reference any information to your satisfaction.