Reading a blog post this morning, The Great Divide, Part 2 by Yoga Leigh got me thinking about learning in general, and learning for those of “un certain age” in particular.
So it seems to me it’s time to figure something out for the workers who have been left behind. I’ve seen the opinion we can help their children (presumably by training for tech jobs) but there’s nothing to do for the 40-60 year-olds who have neither jobs nor the skills to move to the technology sector. Surely in a nation as great as this we can do better than that.
Is the specific paragraph that triggered my pondering.
I do not believe that people in the 40-60 and higher age range cannot learn skills. I know that my 93 year old grandmother learns to use updates to computer programs. She taught herself to use programs for bookkeeping and managing orders after she was 50 and worked using those skills until she was 85. I have learned languages (Japanese, Chinese and I am working on Spanish) and technical skills since I turned 40.
I believe that we all learn all the time. It is just a matter of motivation and willingness to drudge on when things seem tough. My husband, and others in technical fields, are continually updating their knowledge and skills. If people don’t learn new skills it is at least partly about their attitude toward learning. But it may also be about the environment.
For me learning takes many steps to really take hold. Taking in information, trying to use the information, and just being in a place where the information is part of the environment. With language this means just hearing it spoken. With computer skills it means reading technical information where people are using the lingo and talking about how they use the skills. It seems like the information Percolates into me as I use it and watch it used.
I sure don’t think I know the answer to the problem that Leigh discusses, but I wonder if the media could be helpful by creating an environment where people are exposed to the skills they need to move into technology, motivating people to learn the skills, and by promoting the idea that people can learn the skills.
What do you think?