Lifelong Learners - Conrado Schlochauer

Lifelong Learners - Conrado Schlochauer

What is the secret to lifelong learning? Discover how to fall in love with learning with Conrado Schlochauer's book summary.

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The dynamism of the contemporary world has made people look more for constant updating of their skills and knowledge.

You have probably heard someone say that they are "too old" to learn about a certain subject or to try to reenter the workforce.

A methodology focusing on learning how to learn and keeping abreast of change was created and is the subject of the book "Lifelong Learners", by author Conrado Schlochauer.

This methodology is followed by "lifelong learning", a term that has been on the rise in recent years, mainly because studies by the IFTF (Institute For The Future) indicate that 85% of the jobs that will exist by 2030 have not yet been created.

If you want to keep up with the changes in the market and stay active professionally, continue reading our pocketbook to understand more about the topic.

Let’s go?

About the book “Lifelong Learners”

The book “Lifelong Learners - o poder do aprendizado contínuo: aprenda a aprender e mantenha-se relevante em um mundo repleto de mudanças” was released at the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic on 2021, by Editora Gente.

It has 256 pages and 14 chapters divided into two parts: the first part is about why you should become a lifelong learner and the second part is about how to put this term into practice.

In this way, the author points out that all people have an inherent capacity for learning, no matter their age, profession or life goals.

In addition, it brings together several insights for the reader to identify the need for learning.

Who is Conrado Schlochauer?

Conrado is an entrepreneur and activist with a passion for learning. He is the founder of nõvi - a lifewide learning company - and was one of the creators of Afferolab, the biggest corporate learning company in Brazil.

He holds a master's degree in Creativity from the Pontifícia Universidade Católica de São Paulo (PUC-SP) and a doctorate in Learning Psychology from USP.

Always questioning the traditional model of corporate education and aiming to show organizations the importance of efficient and innovative learning, he is frequently invited to give lectures in several companies and major events and writes for websites and magazines.

Finally, he is married and the father of three children, a curiosity he likes to bring into the book to aid his understanding of the human learning process.

Why read “Lifelong Learners”?

The author says that he cannot imagine his life without learning. But, the question is, who really can? We learn something new every day since we are born.

We pass the first two decades of our lives attending school and doing activities related, such as learning a new language or playing some sport.

After a few years, we are matriculated in some university and we look for constant professional and personal improvement through courses, training and lectures. However, after this period, many people stop learning.

In this sense, the book "Lifelong Learners" is recommended for leaders, CEO's and especially for company employees. After all, the world is constantly changing and being up to date is synonymous with an advantage and a few steps ahead of the competition.

What are the key points of the book “Lifelong Learners”?

  • To be prepared to be a lifelong learner, you need to exercise your brain and maintain a healthy lifestyle;
  • The lifelong learner does not only study from formal sources: conversations, podcasts, videos and audios are also valid;
  • Adults learn much more in informal settings;
  • To really learn a content, you will need the alignment between theory and practice;
  • The more you learn, the more powerful and faster your next learning will be;
  • Learning is not synonymous of study: there are different sources of learning that are not always related to formal study;
  • There are four sources of learning: content, experiences, people and networks.

What is a “lifelong learner”?

In the first part of the book, Conrado Schlochauer says that the term "lifelong learner" conveys the idea of the importance of autonomy as the basis for the development of lifelong learners.

In other words, it is a way to create conditions for adults to be able to learn in a self-directed way, a concept that we will address at the end of the summary.

According to the author, people are trapped for years in a traditional education model that restricts students' freedom and curiosity. However, these same students will be faced with an ever-changing workforce that will require constant training.

Some people are passionate about studying and enjoy learning different subjects throughout their lives. So the term comes from an expression with a very simple premise: learning has no validity.

In this sense, the author demystifies the idea that learning ends after we get the degree, whether it be from basic education, university or specialization.

With this in mind, comes another term in the book: “lifelong learning”.

What is “lifelong learning”?

Lifelong learning is a topic that has been discussed for more than 40 years. The concept was developed in the late 1960s and included the publication of two works by Unesco that were considered a milestone: An Introduction to Lifelong Learning and Learning to Be.

The main goal of lifelong learning is to transform the idea that knowledge ends when the student receives a degree.

The author points out that in recent years the concept has gained a new dimension due to the Fourth Industrial Revolution, as the world suffers from constant social and cultural changes.

Additionally, Conrado Schlochauer states that learning is a process that should have no end, since people acquire a degree, think they have reached the pinnacle of knowledge and end the journey of knowledge.

However, the dynamism of the market forces many professionals over 40, i.e., people who think they are "too old" to start over or learn something new, to encounter new learning at the peak of their career.

The greatest names in the corporate world, such as Bill Gates, support the idea and remain in constant development. The author discusses the magnate's life and reports that he was always surrounded by people who encouraged him and put learning as an important pillar.

According to Schlochauer, Bill Gates was able to grow up in an environment that explored learning and provided the freedom for him to cultivate the love of learning that remains to this day, even as the illustrious figure we know today.

Finally, the author leaves us with the following reflection:

“Bill Gates did not become passionate about learning only after he founded Microsoft.”

What is the importance of lifelong learning?

Lifelong learning is a valuable competitive advantage. Those who can learn different contents at any stage of life are able to maintain the quality of the work delivered over the years, independent of the world context.

Reinventing yourself and developing yourself simultaneously means being able to learn new soft and hard skills, valuable competencies for the workforce.

In addition, the author points out that you will be able to keep up with market changes, be able to adapt to numerous global trends and learn skills that will keep you active in the corporate environment.

What do companies think about it?

The companies themselves benefit from lifelong learning and are concerned about the need to retrain employees.

According to Schlochauer, companies are looking for large-scale training projects, called upskilling and reskilling, programs that aim to develop new skills and improve existing ones, respectively.

As an example, the author mention Amazon, an organization that has already invested $700 million to upskill 100,000 employees by 2025.

What are the skills of the future?

We have been talking for some time now about the importance of professional and personal improvement and about competencies to meet the market.

But, after all, what is the skill that will be a differentiator in the future?

The author mentions in the book that, according to the World Economic Forum report, continuous and active learning will be the second most demanded skill by 2025, behind only analytical thinking and innovation.

In Brazil, skills related to the ability to learn are at the top of the ranking.

What is the best way to learn?

Can you remember the feeling you had when you attended a course?

According to the author, adults are different from children. Therefore, they cannot use the same educational logic to learn and autonomy is a fundamental characteristic for self-directed learning.

Conrado is based on the studies of Piaget, a 20th century psychologist, who talks about human development appearing in four stages: sensory motor, until age 2; pre-operational, between ages 2 and 8; concrete operational, from ages 7 to 11; and formal operational, until age 11.

After this phase, Piaget states that it is the interaction with the environment that will propitiate adult learning.

Other academics mentioned by the author also point out that intelligence related to information processing may decline. Therefore, we need a good physical conditioning, because a healthy body is synonymous with a well cared for brain.

Finally, we should strive for lifelong learning. After all, the more you learn, the more empowered your brain is. According to Conrado Schlochauer:

“Our cognitive functions will be more or less active according to the use we make of them and our exposure to interesting and diverse environments”.

What does it mean by self directed?

Do you believe that we depend on someone else to organize the learning process?

Many people imagine that learning comes from formal and academic environments, such as books, courses and classes, disregarding informal learning. To exemplify what this concept is, Conrado Schlochauer's phrase fits: "instead of learning about the world, learn from the world".

Also, the author tries to demystify this thinking by means of self-directed learning. To be self-directed, in the writer's words, is:

“Be able to decide what your development needs are and then create efficient learning strategies.”

According to Schlochauer, to practice self-direction, you need:

  1. Believe in your ability to structure your learning without the support of a specialist;
  2. Develop a passion for learning: unfortunately, school was a necessary evil in many people's conception;
  3. Enhance your ability to learn through metacognition.

What are the 4 sources of learning? 

For most people, the natural path to new learning is to enroll in a course, watch a video lesson or read a book.

According to the author, acquiring knowledge about a certain content is not synonymous with learning. In this sense, Conrado Schlochauer and Alex Bretas, self-directed learning activist, developed four sources: content, experiences, people and networks.


Although the author stresses the importance of informal learning, the formal contents are still fundamental and indispensable means for a solid knowledge base and the construction of new concepts.

The essential thing in this case is to curate the content, do some active reading and choose your learning platforms well.


Experiences are the basis of adult learning and the informal environment. With them we get the experiences that will help us develop competencies.


According to Conrado Schlochauer, people are an underutilized but equally relevant source of learning. After all, the knowledge of others complements our own.

For this reason, we must know how to identify who has experience in the area, structure a meeting that is fruitful and listen openly to what the other has to say in an open manner.


Being self-directed does not mean being alone in the learning process.

Networks are communities or major enablers with a role to innovate and complement the other sources of knowledge. They offer content, experiences, knowledge and foster networking.

What do other authors say about it?

In addition, to learning how to develop the skills you need to stay in the workforce, it is critical that you understand time management. In David Allen's bestseller Getting Things Done, you will find the GTD method to increase your learning productivity and efficiency.

Are you looking to reenter the workforce? We know that this moment is a mixed feeling and that it can be a shock for many people.

With the book "The 5 Second Rule" by Mel Robbins, you will learn a tool that will help you take more control over your life and believe in your potential.

Finally, the book “Lifelong Learners” also shows the importance of curation when it comes to continuous learning. To complement this practice, Greg McKeown's book Essentialism teaches you to focus on what really matters and that less is always more!

Okay, but how to apply “lifelong learning” in practice? 

  • Pay attention to market trends and innovations;
  • Identify your strengths and weaknesses: practice self-knowledge;
  • Get qualified in areas that are constantly growing;
  • Books are not the only source of learning: rely on audiobooks and podcasts to learn about the topics that interest you;
  • Surround yourself with people who believe in your goal and who can help you in your learning process.

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Lifelong Learners - Conrado Schlochauer