Supporting Lifelong Learning - Vol. 2

Supporting Lifelong Learning - Vol. 2

Supporting Lifelong Learning - Vol. 2

Supporting Lifelong Learning - Vol. 2

Synopsis

This Reader examines the ways in which learning is organised in a diverse range of 'lifelong learning environments'. If we are to harness the full potential of this learning, the structures of both organisations and providers will have to change. Examination is also made of the shift away from seeing formal institutions as the sole providers of education and the increasing recognition of the learning opportunities which exist outside the walls of institutions. The book looks at what types of learning environments promote lifelong learning, how they can be organised to support meaningful learning and what the implications are for managers. Supporting Lifelong Learning Volume II: Organising Learning also elucidates the implications of wider concepts of the learning city, learning region and the learning society. It's editors succeed in combining a fresh and accessible text with a uniquely international dimension.

Excerpt

Fiona Reeve, Marion Cartwright and Richard Edwards

The idea that learning is a central component to organizational efficiency, effectiveness and competitiveness has become increasingly widespread in recent years. It is almost as common for employers and trade unionists to be discussing lifelong learning as it is for educators. While lifelong learning itself is not a new notion, earlier foci were primarily on its contribution to personal development, nation-building for post-colonial states and citizenship. While the role of lifelong learning in relation to work and the economy has always been an important concern among certain groups, it is only in relatively recent years that it has become commonplace as a concept.

As the pace of economic change has been perceived to speed up, so the capacity both of the workforce to learn and of the organization to make more effective use of what has become known as its human resources has become a major focus of interest. Initial education is proclaimed as no longer sufficient for a rapidly changing context marked by globalizing processes and advances in information and communications technologies. Lifelong learning as an issue has therefore migrated from being primarily a concern of certain groups of educators to become a focus of research and debate amongst those concerned with business, management and organizational studies. Notions of the learning organization, knowledge management, organizational learning, communities of practice and social learning systems are now found extensively intertwined with certain of the debates surrounding lifelong learning. It is some of those debates that are to be found in this volume.

These ideas have direct relevance for those involved in human resource development and training and increasingly for other adult educators, since, with the growing development of the provision of learning opportunities through quasi-markets, quality audit and performance management, ideas that might have emerged in subject areas other than education have become influential in many educational circles as well. Lifelong learning in this sense is often linked to notions of effectiveness, efficiency, innovation and productivity, and is heavily influenced by notions of human capital theory

The Introduction was written especially for this volume.

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