What is Lifelong Learning (LLL)
We are well aware of the fact that knowledge is one of the key factors in both personal and professional development; ever more people aspire to high degrees of education, to have better opportunities in the job market. Also, with the new millennium, we have become a so-called “knowledge society”, which involves striving to ensure that as many people as possible achieve quality education and training and, at the same time, providing individuals with all the resources necessary to fully develop their potential.
Lifelong Learning (LLL), also called “permanent learning”, is substantially the learning process that individuals, based upon their needs, undertake to become professionally and socially fulfilled. The awareness of one’s knowledge and of any gaps that need filling moves learning beyond a more or less limited phase of one’s life, transforming it into a fluid and constant lifelong process in sync with economic and social changes.
Learning can be either formal or informal: the former takes place in the institutions that are devoted to training and leads to the awarding of official diplomas and attestations; the latter takes place on the job and in other contexts. Informal learning is also what every person undergoes in everyday life, through individual studies and by participating in cultural and training events.
The European Union: the Lifelong Learning and the new Erasmus + programmes
From 2007 to 2013, the European Union invested approximately €7 billion in its Lifelong Learning (LLL) programme, which replaced a number of previous education programmes.
Its goal was to give the Lifelong Learning programme a truly European dimension; in addition to its strictly educational purposes, in fact, the programme addressed the protection of linguistic diversity, an intercultural dialogue, tolerance among peoples, active citizenship and the strengthening of European identity., The European Union Council held in Lisbon in 2000 was essential in identifying the programme’s three main objectives: improving the quality of education, facilitating access to quality education, and opening up education systems to the outside world.
The Erasmus+ programme, which is scheduled to run from 2014 to 2020, has incorporated the LLL programme’s activities: the main changes concern increased opportunities in the professional field, new strategic partnerships (including some with the world of sports), and inclusion programmes for refugees and migrants.
Why constant learning is a necessity
Socio-political and economic changes have transformed the ways in which business is perceived and conducted. Technological innovations and the opening up of communication channels have changed marketing and communication, making then more stimulating and rich on the one hand, and more complex to best analyse, exploit and manage on the other.
This is why constant learning is a necessity, both for individual professionals and for companies. The way things are, to think that learning can be confined to a well-defined phase of a person’s life is counterproductive.
Companies must make constant employee training one of their essential strategic objectives. Some maintain that company training is one of most important learning activities for company success and for employee personal and professional fulfilment. The in-house development of skills and the increase of knowledge contribute not only to the growth of a company’s productivity, but also to the wellbeing of its employees, who feel involved and invested with responsibilities, thus more linked to their company’s successes or lack thereof. In the light of Lifelong learning, every company and professional should invest part of their time and resources into improving competency over their whole life cycle.