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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.


Lifelong Learning

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


Articles Published in/about the Region


School Examples


Internet Resources


Holistic Competency and Virtue Education (2021). 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


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