'Lifelong learning' is one of the most popular concepts of the 21st century. In a recent CommunityVoice piece for Forbes, Preply.com CEO and Co-Founder Kirill Bigai discussed the role online learning played in his own career trajectory, along with highlighting key attributes found in successful online learning platforms. Here's a closer look at his insights.

From Online Learning to Business Launch

“Thirty years ago, most CEOs likely wouldn’t be boasting about their ongoing program of continuing education, but we live in a new world -- one where the demand and ability to keep learning throughout one’s career is something we all need to embrace,” proposes Bigai.

He's speaking from experience: In order to launch his startup, he relied on online courses in everything from finance and history to design and history. As his career continued, he added coding and data analysis coursework to the mix while also regularly listening to audiobooks to improve his English language skills.

“Online learning is my startup’s business, but you might say it is also my startup’s secret to success,” he concludes.

Bigai also points out that his experience is not a unique one. Research shows that the majority of MOOC learners are between the ages of 30 and 44 with university degrees. Their intent in enrolling? To improve their job performance. The lifeline learning supported by online learning is especially advantageous to leaders who, according to Kenneth Mikkelsen and Harold Jarche in a Harvard Business Review article, “must get comfortable with living in a state of continually becoming.”

What Online Platforms Best Support Lifelong Learning?

Not all online learning platforms are created equal. According to Bigai, the most successful ones share several things in common: they are uniquely agile with the ability to evolve to adapt to learners' needs; they’re “smart” with the capacity to personalize the learning experience through the collecting and analyzing of data; and they can be easily scaled.

Bigai predicts online learning platforms with this infrastructure in place will be the primary mode of learning in the future. “Unlike traditional forms of education, online learning is flexible, adaptable, scalable and highly affordable or free, making it the ideal way to respond to today’s changing educational needs,” he insists.