Cultivating lifelong learning: education across the lifespan


David Peran

8/2/20233 min read

The notion that quality education is confined to childhood and early adulthood is increasingly antiquated in today’s world. With rapid technological and societal changes, adopting a lifelong learning mindset is critical for continued professional development and personal enrichment across one’s lifespan (GSV, 2015). Developments like EdTech, remote work, and increased life expectancy are reshaping the landscape of learning, expanding horizons beyond conventional boundaries.

Unleashing potential: lifelong learning for seniors

Our aging population holds untapped potential. Lifelong learning serves as a potent antidote to isolation and stagnation, stimulating the cognitive and social realms, and enabling the pursuit of new interests beyond retirement. It is an encouraging forecast from McKinsey (2021) that the global longevity economy, encompassing educational services for older adults, could skyrocket to an astonishing $27 trillion by 2026. This underscores the importance and potential of lifelong learning for the aging population.

In my opinion, online learning is not just a platform but a catalyst for seniors, allowing them to delve into topics that resonate personally, through interactive courses and virtual classrooms (Cukier & Mayer-Schoenberger, 2013). Customized EdTech experiences such as educational games offer an engaging, social, and digital learning environment that seniors can relate to and enjoy. This opportunity is not just about keeping the mind engaged - it's about redefining post-retirement life, shattering traditional perceptions of aging.

Reskilling and upskilling: fueling the workplace revolution

Continuing education also allows mid-career professionals to reskill or upskill and transition between roles and emerging fields. McKinsey's 2021 survey reveals a striking insight: 87% of executives recognize reskilling and upskilling of the workforce as critical priorities. I believe this focus on continuous learning is less a professional obligation than a strategic necessity for businesses to thrive in a dynamically evolving marketplace.

The growing corporate investment in online training programs to help employees adapt their capabilities is a testament to this belief. New technologies like VR are revolutionizing the learning experience in specific sectors such as healthcare, making it more engaging and efficient. However, I firmly believe that technology, while instrumental, is merely a facilitator. The true essence of education lies in igniting intellectual curiosity, fostering creativity, and nurturing an enduring passion for learning among professionals.

Early childhood education: a foundational imperative

Quality early childhood education is not a luxury; it is an investment in our collective future, instrumental in laying the groundwork for robust cognitive and socio-emotional development in children. Yet, it is deeply disconcerting that persistent inequities in access to these early learning resources continue to create widening achievement gaps. In this context, EdTech emerges as a promising ally, capable of bridging these divides with the aid of remote learning and personalized, adaptive education methods.

However, while embracing the role of technology, it is critical to remember that no amount of advanced EdTech can replicate the profound impact of human interaction in a child's early years. From forming secure attachments and developing social skills to cultivating emotional intelligence and resilience, the human element in education plays an irreplaceable role. In my view, we need to create an educational environment where technology plays a complementary role, enhancing our ability to teach and connect with young learners without overshadowing the fundamental human bonds.

Education: an ongoing voyage

By reframing education as a lifelong journey, not a finite endeavor, we cultivate an environment of growth, adaptability, and resilience. This paradigm empowers individuals across all age groups to broaden their horizons, tackle challenges head-on, and contribute more significantly to society.

As we navigate the future, our collective challenge is to ensure that our technological advancements enrich, not replace, the human elements in our learning journeys. I pose a question to you: how can we strike the balance between promoting lifelong learning through technology while preserving the invaluable human touch? Share your perspective in the comments below.


Cukier, K. & Mayer-Schoenberger, V. (2013) The rise of big data: how it’s changing the way we think about the world, Foreign Affairs, 92 (3), pp. 28-40. Available at:

GSV (2015). GSV 2020 vision: a history of the future. Available at:                                                                    

McKinsey's Education Practice (2021). Investible themes in US education: macro forces priming the market for disruption.