Lifelong (professional) learning

07-05-2023 | Hans van Vlaanderen

“I would like to keep developing myself,” is what ambitious people often say. And that is understandable: deepening, continuing education and knowledge development gives satisfaction and pleasure. Moreover, lifelong learning is not only fun, it is a dire necessity for more and more people. But how do you make sure you make that accumulated knowledge understandable to the outside world? In a rapidly changing job market, how can you continue to raise your profile and differentiate yourself from others?

New labor market, new opportunities

Work, roles and functions are changing in almost every industry. Installers are dealing with new materials, ordering is done via the Internet and they are making 3d scans of their job sites. Marketers see their (online) communication mix changing almost by the day. How we deal with things like property, capital and labor today will have changed dramatically in ten years. Supply and demand in the labor market are difficult to predict: where there are shortages today, there may be mass layoffs tomorrow. That turbulence can make people uncertain, but it also means that new opportunities are opening up for everyone.

‘Lifelong learning’ in my view means that you have to keep actively developing yourself; within and outside your field. This can be exciting at times, but the resources to do so are more readily available than ever. However, you then have to actually do it: day in and day out. Because a course or training alone won’t get you there, unfortunately.

The resume is no longer adequate

Because diplomas, certificates and testimonials may (still) look nice on your resume, they don’t guarantee you that great promotion or great new job. Because something important is missing. Education and training do not sufficiently show who you really are. An employer would like to see, for example, that you are able to adapt to innovation, that you quickly oversee complex problems or that you are very good at working together. The resume as we know it does not show the skills you possess that are needed to hold your own in the knowledge economy of the future.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could show what skills you developed and how you did it? Wouldn’t it be valuable to be able to show how fellow students and colleagues perceived your skills and attributes? Employers find it important to be able to see what your contribution has been to certain assignments or projects. Therefore, a simple listing of skills or degrees is not enough. Your development must be able to be substantiated by employers, clients and colleagues. So no flat endorsements, but valuable insights about who you are and what you have to offer.

Skills? Nothing new under the sun

Skills and, in particular, 21st-century skills may seem like a fad, but the importance of skills is certainly not new. In any case, what we know is that in a rapidly changing world, they provide handholds, namely: demonstrable and substantiated insights into who you are. So that a work or client can see what you can do now, but also what your possibilities are for the future.

When I talk to students, teachers, employers and recruiters, I find that there is a tremendous need to give those skills the place they deserve in school, vocational education, college and the job market. I am convinced that a personal, lifelong portfolio is the way to show: this is me.

Your personal safe

With Simulise’s portfolio, there is now a central place where you can store assignments, projects and jobs and have your role within them assessed by teachers or fellow students. The personal portfolio is a safe, lifelong vault for all your work. You decide which portions you disclose to, for example, a fellow student or a work or client.

You are more than your degrees alone

We live in a performance society where you always have to do better, more and higher. But a person is more than his degrees alone. Lifelong learning, yes that’s important. But isn’t it a shame that everything you can do is reduced to a title on your resume?

That’s why I’m so excited about Simulise: the portfolio of your life. Because continuing to develop yourself is important, but all your efforts, accomplishments, insights and skills only become meaningful when you can make them understandable to the outside world.