Lifelong Learning in the Context of the Army and SHARP Program

Categories: EducationLearning

The surge in the popularity of lifelong learning has been palpable in recent years, with the 21st century's dynamic lifestyle providing a fertile ground for its widespread adoption. This continuous pursuit of knowledge is now encouraged across various fields, fostering ongoing personal and professional development. However, within the distinctive realm of the military, where the essence of service sets it apart, perceptions on certain concepts like lifelong learning may deviate from the mainstream.

In the military, the prevailing mindset may question the relevance of lifelong learning to their specific line of duty.

The unique nature of military operations might lead individuals to perceive ongoing learning as unnecessary or disconnected from their immediate needs. Despite these potential reservations, it is crucial to recognize that lifelong learning holds a myriad of advantages for the military, offering a strategic edge that transcends traditional perspectives.

This paper aims to delve into the distinctive benefits that lifelong learning brings to the military, with a specific focus on the SHARP (Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention) program.

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By shedding light on how continuous learning can enhance military effectiveness and contribute to a safer and more inclusive environment, this exploration seeks to bridge the gap between conventional military perceptions and the transformative potential of lifelong learning.

While the notion of lifelong learning might conjure negative associations with traditional classrooms and schools for some, its essence extends far beyond conventional education. Despite the noble mission of ensuring homeland security, some army officers may perceive lifelong learning as inconsequential to their objectives.

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It becomes imperative, therefore, to underscore the paramount advantages that continuous learning brings to the military context.

McKay's (2018) exploration of lifelong learning within the framework of Sustainable Development Goals becomes particularly relevant in the military context. Acknowledging that army officers, akin to other professionals, must maintain a fresh and updated knowledge base, the concept of lifelong learning emerges as a vehicle for instilling contemporary values and principles. The intricate relationship between lifelong learning and broader societal goals such as equality, health, and well-being becomes evident. While the military lifestyle may seem to leave little room for these values, a commitment to quality lifelong learning can serve as a transformative solution, offering the army a profound understanding of the values it has sworn to protect.

The clarity of objectives in lifelong learning for officers is paramount. In the realm of the military's Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention (SHARP) Program, the need for effective resolution of sexual assault issues looms large. The prevalence of assault within the military environment necessitates a specialized program like SHARP, and lifelong learning can play a pivotal role in addressing this pressing concern.

Drawing on the insights of Edwards et al. (2018), lifelong learning encompasses multifaceted aspects, and sexual assault prevention stands out as a critical component. Beyond merely instilling universal values, lifelong learning equips individuals with a comprehensive understanding of the profound repercussions of assault on both perpetrators and victims. Modern educational programs incorporated into lifelong learning initiatives offer practical and effective techniques for responding to and mitigating the risks of assault. Importantly, such continuous learning endeavors contribute to the well-being of victims, recognizing and addressing the severe mental implications that often accompany instances of sexual abuse.

In essence, lifelong learning emerges as a dynamic force capable of addressing longstanding issues within the military, providing officers with not only updated knowledge but also a holistic perspective on societal values and critical challenges such as sexual assault.

The core premise of the current investigation creates an environment conducive to the continual evolution of army officers. Nowowiejski's (2017) exploration delves into the pivotal role of lifelong learning in fostering self-enhancement within the military. Many individuals embarking on a military career may not remain within this realm for their entire lives. While their dedication propels them to success in the initial phases, it often leaves little room for exploring alternative opportunities. Nowowiejski (2017) highlights a common scenario where army officers retire prematurely without a clear roadmap for the subsequent chapters of their lives. Struggling to attain academic achievements and advanced degrees during their military service, these individuals find it challenging to navigate the post-military landscape. However, Nowowiejski suggests that striking a harmonious balance between military service and lifelong learning can pave the way for sustained personal development. This strategic approach not only facilitates a smoother transition to post-military life but also assists officers in finding their place within society.

In summary, lifelong learning emerges as a catalyst for positive transformation in the lives of army officers. It champions universally accepted values, aligning individuals with the expectations of the 21st century. Within the context of the SHARP program, lifelong learning assumes heightened significance as it addresses the critical issue of sexual assault within the military. Moreover, this concept serves as a gateway for officers to augment their expertise, opening up new opportunities should they decide to depart from the military. As lifelong learning continues to garner global recognition, the military is poised to embrace this trend, ensuring its relevance and adaptability in the ever-evolving landscape of personal and professional development.

Updated: Feb 20, 2024
Cite this page

Lifelong Learning in the Context of the Army and SHARP Program. (2024, Feb 11). Retrieved from

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