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This article advances a conceptualization of lifelong learning that offers a platform for a broader consideration of what it comprises and how it might be supported and guided across adults’ lives. It makes a clear delineation between lifelong learning and lifelong education, as they are often advanced as being consonant in contemporary policy accounts, when they are quite distinct concepts. Unless lifelong learning is seen as a personal fact (i.e., something that arises from and is secured by persons), it will remain misunderstood and limited in its explanatory power and utility in guiding lifelong education. This is particularly the case when it is confused with the provision of educational experiences (i.e., lifelong education), as is commonly the case. Given the range of circumstances and means through which adults’ learning occurs across their lives, it is erroneous to view lifelong learning as being synonymous with or limiting to being merely the product of intentional educational experiences, albeit within educational institutions, workplaces, or community settings. Instead, it is necessary to consider the range of experiences that generate that learning and a broader account of how such learning might be supported.

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Science Information 41 ( 2 ): 255 – 279 . Guest , R. H. ( 1979 ): Quality of Work Life-learning from Tarrytown . Harvard Business Review 57 ( 4 ): 76 – 87

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