Monday, 21 January 2013

Not 'What is Lifelong Learning?' Rather 'Why Lifelong Learning?'

In September 2011, I launched the Lifelong Learning:Personal Effectiveness Guides which were to cover many aspects of learning and development and designed primarily for the home learner - someone could not attend formal training courses. They are also a useful resource for current learning programmes.

The springboard of the series is Lifelong Learning: A View From the Coal Face. Essentially a research paper undertaken some years ago, it looked at how the then government initiatives in education could contribute to the development of human potential and the whole person. This last point 'the whole person' emerged after wide research from a cross section of mature learners and specialists in the field. 

Before  we were born all out attributes were set into the pattern of our character. All our potential skills and qualities were there in that cluster of unique cells which make us what we are, or could be. 

The following are extracts from the conclusion of my research which:


'Looked at lifelong learning in the context of how human potential could be released and thus realised for the individual. How we all as individuals can grow, develop, absorb, and learn from life’s experiences, thus satisfying all the facets, which form the embryo.
The general view emerged that we must constantly seek new information (otherwise “what is the point of life?”); that individuals have differing motivating factors in the search for new knowledge.
I remain convinced that the varying strands of lifelong learning are interwoven. They should not focus solely on qualifications to underpin economic prosperity. To do so, is to ignore the impact of the ripples, which stem from this learning.
To ignore other aspects of personal development however, is also to ignore the contribution this in turn can make in prompting learners to aspire to higher skills and achievement, with its subsequent contribution to economic prosperity. Clearly, as this research has identified, it is evident that the issue of basic skills must be addressed; but people must be encouraged to see that they can achieve.
The unexpected theme of 'confidence’ and a belief of what can be achieved, leads me to conclude that this must be fostered from a very young age, not only in the home, but also in schools. It must not only be addressed retrospectively during adult life. 

In looking at what lifelong learning is, I revert to Comenius:
“Just as the whole world is a school for the whole of the human race, . . . so the whole of a person’s life is a school for everyone of us, from the cradle to the grave . . . nor is a person given other goals in learning than in life itself.” (Comenius, 1609, quoted in Longworth & Davies 1996 p8)' [end of extract]

Earlier I said that "before  we were born all out attributes were set into the pattern of our character. All our potential skills and qualities were there in that cluster of unique cells which make us what we are, or could be". 
The key is to undertake learning and development activities to release and realise that potential with which we were born and become the best that we can be.

This will be the focus of the next blog on Lifelong Learning. 

Rosalie xx

Lifelong Learning: A View From the Coal face ISBN 9778-1-908302-04-5 (Paperback)