The Life Long Learner vs. The Continuous Learner

A few weeks ago, while doing some research on the value of the ePortfolio, I came across an article that caught my attention written by Robert Talbert, an educator and mathematician.  It was the title that caught my attention first, Continuous Learning Instead of “Lifelong Learning”.  Being a “lifelong learner” is a term I’ve heard for a long time, and frankly, something I’ve always strived to be.

In recent years, we hear the term being used more and more.  With the impact technology has had on education, educators must be capable of change- we have to be able to adapt to the rapid changes of technology.  There are also many professional learning networks available to educators to keep us inspired and to allow us to ask questions and collaborate with other teachers and educators around the world, and so we are taught and encouraged to not only teach our students, but to practice what we teach.  To be lifelong learners.

In the article linked above, Talbert makes some interesting points.  Does the term “lifelong learner” convey the sense that the learning is happening gradually?  On our own time?  He gives a great analogy-  it’s “like taking a class at the college every now and then for enrichment, doing that macrame course at the community center when you retire, or even taking an online computer programming course for fun”, when in reality embracing lifelong learning should be something that happens all the time.  As educators, we should crave the need and want to learn all the time, but does the term itself convey a different meaning?

After reading through the article, I found myself agreeing with a lot of what Talbert had to say.  The more I thought about it, the more I liked what the word continuous conveyed.  For me, there is never a break or a pause, there is a sense of urgency, and so when the time came for me start building my website, I thought “Do I want to be called a lifelong learner or a continuous learner?”  If you look right at top of my website, you’ll see what I went with.



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