Lifelong Learning

Clive LEE, Jeremy NG, Monaliza M. CHIAN, Andrew P. HOANG, Chad KWONG

 

Lifelong Learning (LLL) develops human capacities for facing changes and shaping the world. It includes all purposeful learning activities throughout life for improving knowledge, skills, and competencies (UNESCO International Bureau of Education, 1984). According to OECD (2021), LLL encompasses formal learning in schools, vocational training centres, and informal/non-formal learning environments (e.g. museums and libraries) among diverse educators, including colleagues and workplace trainers. Lifelong learners tend to be self-determined, curious, strategic and resilient (Blaschke, 2012; Drewery et al., 2020). They may also be motivated intrinsically for self-actualisation of their talents and potential, or extrinsically in response to changing life circumstances and job markets. Today, lifelong learners capitalise on technologies that help sustain their ongoing learning trajectories (Matsumoto-Royo et al., 2021).


Lifelong learning has been advocated for and facilitated by wide-ranging bodies, spanning from international organisations (e.g., UNESCO, OECD) to local communities (Peters & Romero, 2019). These efforts support the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4), which aims to foster inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all (United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, n.d.). As globalisation, technological developments, and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic continually shape the world, governments are formulating LLL policies and programmes for all stakeholders to upskill talents and boost economic competitiveness (OECD, 2021).


With the growth of affordable learning platforms, accessible online resources on social media/video platforms, and diverse massive open online courses (MOOCs), the benefits of continual learning have become increasingly attainable. LLL has been shown to enhance individuals’ internal control, motivation, performance, self-efficacy and support (Boyer et al., 2014), as well as the social inclusion, equity and well-being of communities (Merriam & Kee, 2014).


Below are some relevant and timely school examples, internet resources and scholarly contributions that raise issues, considerations, and challenges as we reimagine lifelong learning for all.


References


Blaschke, L. M. (2012). Heutagogy and lifelong learning: A review of heutagogical practice and self-determined learning. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 13(1), 56-71.


Boyer, S. L., Edmondson, D. R., Artis, A. B., & Fleming, D. (2014). Self-directed learning: A tool for lifelong learning. Journal of Marketing Education, 36(1), 20-32.


Drewery, D. W., Sproule, R. & Pretti, T. J. (2020). Lifelong learning mindset and career success: Evidence from the field of accounting and finance. Higher Education Skills and Work-based Learning, 10(3), 567-580.


Matsumoto-Royo, K., Ramírez-Montoya, M. S., & Conget, P. (2021). Opportunities to develop lifelong learning tendencies in practice-based teacher education: Getting ready for education 4.0. Future Internet, 13(11), 292.


Merriam, S. B., & Kee, Y. (2014). Promoting community wellbeing: The case for lifelong learning for older adults. Adult Education Quarterly, 64(2), 128-144.


OECD (2021). OECD skills outlook 2021: Learning for life. OECD Publishing.


Peters, M., & Romero, M. (2019). Lifelong learning ecologies in online higher education: Students' engagement in the continuum between formal and informal learning. British Journal of Educational Technology, 50(4), 1729-1743.


UNESCO International Bureau of Education. (1984). Terminology of Technical and Vocational Education. UNESCO.


United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs. (n.d.). Goal 4 - Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. United Nations.


Lifelong Learning
 

Highly-Cited Academic Articles (Based on analysed results from Web of Science)


Aspin, D. N., & Chapman, J. D. (2000). Lifelong learning: Concepts and conceptions. International Journal of Lifelong Education, 19(1), 2-19.


Blaschke, L. M. (2012). Heutagogy and lifelong learning: A review of heutagogical practice and self-determined learning. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 13(1), 56-71.


Drewery, D. W., Sproule, R. & Pretti, T. J. (2020). Lifelong learning mindset and career success: Evidence from the field of accounting and finance. Higher Education Skills and Work-based Learning, 10(3), 567-580.


Merriam, S. B., & Kee, Y. (2014). Promoting community wellbeing: The case for lifelong learning for older adults. Adult Education Quarterly, 64(2), 128-144.


Peters, M., & Romero, M. (2019). Lifelong learning ecologies in online higher education: Students' engagement in the continuum between formal and informal learning. British Journal of Educational Technology, 50(4), 1729-1743.

 

Articles Published in/about the Region


Chen, Z., & Liu, Y. (2019). The different style of lifelong learning in China and the USA based on influencing motivations and factors. International Journal of Educational Research, 95, 13-25.


Lee, N., & Cribbin, J. (2011). Lifelong learning in Hong Kong: Marketisation and personalisation of lifelong education. International Journal of Continuing Education and Lifelong Learning, 4(1), 49-71.


Tam, M. (2016). Later life learning experiences: Listening to the voices of Chinese elders in Hong Kong. International Journal of Lifelong Education, 35(5), 569-585.


Tan, C. (2017). Lifelong learning through the SkillsFuture movement in Singapore: Challenges and prospects. International Journal of Lifelong Education, 36(3), 278-291.

 

School Examples


Shatin Tsung Tsin School (n.d.). Lifewide Learning. (Chinese only)


Wang, M. (2021, November 29). Vocational and professional education and training (VPET) 4.0: Shaping the future of work. FSTE-HKCAAVQ Forum.


Youth.gov.hk. (2021, August 11). Applied learning, apply the learning - ApL graduates share their success stories.

 

Internet Resources


Websites


Holistic Competency and Virtue Education (2021). Lifelong learning.


Ngo, C. (2022, April 1). 10 best free and affordable platforms for online courses. Best Colleges.


Schleicher, A. (2021, June 15). How can we foster lifelong learning attitudes in students? OECD Education and Skills Today.


UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning.


YouTube Videos

LLL-OLC. (2019, April 3). How can we make changes towards lifelong learning?

TEDx Talks. (2021, May 26). How continuous learning and innovation improves our identity – Michael Wong – TEDxYouth@Catherham School.

TEDx Talks. (2020, January 16). The role of museums in lifelong learning – Lorenz Kampschulte – TEDxMPIStuttgart.

The Art of Improvement. (2020, August 17). How to embrace being a lifelong learner.

 

Extended Readings


Jarvis, P. (2010). Adult education and lifelong learning: Theory and practice. Routledge.


Matsumoto-Royo, K., Ramírez-Montoya, M. S., & Conget, P. (2021). Opportunities to develop lifelong learning tendencies in practice-based teacher education: Getting ready for education 4.0. Future Internet, 13(11), 292.


Rubenson, K. (2019) Assessing the status of lifelong learning: Issues with composite indexes and surveys on participation. International Review of Education, 65, 295-317.


UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning. (2021). Inclusive lifelong learning in cities: Policies and practices for vulnerable groups. UNESCO.

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