The alternative to lifelong learning is an endless plateau

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Introduction Throughout a persons life they will always be learning. This learning could be as simple as learning a new recipe for dinner or as advanced as undertaking an educational program to acquire more knowledge about a particular content matter. Lifelong learning as an inquisitive adult is the term used to define the active pursuit of knowledge for ones own benefit. But what happens if the pursuit of lifelong learning stops or stalls, and reaches a plateau. This sometimes seemingly endless plateau can be caused by different factors such as structural, content or life plateauing. The plateau could also be the effect of an obstruction in the path of lifelong learning like gender roles, motivation and alienation. By identifying the plateau and the possible causes, lifelong learning can always be a viable alternative. The Endless Plateau An endless plateau can be defined as a stage in life or work where a person can see no opportunity for growth or development (Bardwick, 1986). Bardwick extended the conceptualization of plateaus to consider three distinct kinds. The first is structural or hierarchical plateaus, which occur as the number of positions and opportunities for promotions in organizations decrease. The second kind are content plateaus, which occur as employees master their current positions and become bored and lastly, life plateaus, which result from an inability to find fulfilment in any area of life. Structural Plateauing Structural plateauing occurs when an employee has reached the highest level he or she can go in the company (Schiska, 1991). Structural plateauing is caused by limitations inherent in a company's hierarchy, since the farther one goes up the structure, typically fewer positions exist; and employees plateau because they either do not possess the skills or the ability to be moved to the next rank, or more frequently, because there

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