Supporting Lifelong Learning - Vol. 1

Supporting Lifelong Learning - Vol. 1

Supporting Lifelong Learning - Vol. 1

Supporting Lifelong Learning - Vol. 1

Synopsis

This Open University Reader examines the practices of learning and teaching which have been developed to support lifelong learning, and the understanding and assumptions which underpin them. The selection of texts trace the widening scope of academic understanding ofnbsp;learning and teaching, and considers the implications for those who develop programmes of learning. It examines in great depth those theories which have had the greatest impact in the field, theories of reflection and learning from experience and theories of situated learning. The implications of these theories ar examined in relation to themes which run across the reader, namely, workplace learning, literacies, and the possibilities offered by information and communication technologies. The particular focus of this Reader is on the psychological or cognitive phenomena thatnbsp;happen in the minds of individual learners. The readings have been selected to represent a range of experience in different sectors of education from around the globe.

Excerpt

Perspectives on learning

Roger Harrison, Fiona Reeve, Ann Hanson and Julia Clarke

In recent times we have seen a loosening of the boundaries around concepts of adult learning, symbolized by contemporary discourses of 'lifelong learning'. Learning is now seen as a key feature of participation in social and economic life. Learning as a preparation for life has been displaced by learning as an essential strategy for successful negotiation of the life course, as the conditions in which we live and work are subject to ever more rapid change. Traditional distinctions between formal and informal learning, or between different institutional contexts, become less significant since learning might occur in the workplace, the home, the car, the internet cafe, as well as the college. We learn not only for the purposes of gaining formal qualifications but also to obtain and keep employment, develop expertise in a leisure activity, deal with changes in relationships, or manage personal finances. We learn from colleagues, friends, parents and children. We learn through mentoring, television and books, as well as various forms of 'webucation' and 'e-learning'. There seems to be no aspect of human experience that does not lend itself to appropriation as a pedagogical project; a situation that has raised questions for some about the nature and intent of the lifelong learning project as a whole (Alheit, 1998). In contemporary conditions learning becomes not only 'lifelong', suggesting learning as relevant throughout the life course, but also 'life-wide', suggesting learning as an essential aspect of our whole life experience, not just that which we think of as 'education'. Whilst this adds to the difficulty of making generalizations about learning, it also serves to stimulate interest in wider understandings of the processes of learning. These wider understandings extend the reach of 'learning' beyond the institutional settings and formats of 'education' and constitute a serious challenge to many established ideas of how, why, where and with whom learning might occur.

It is perhaps surprising then that whilst notions of lifelong learning have achieved a high profile within discourses of adult education and training,

The Introduction was written especially for this volume.

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