Lifelong Learning Process
Section 1: Introduction
The magnitude of current social and economic change, the demographic pressures stemming from an aging population, and the rapid transition of a knowledge-based society are all challenges that demand a new perspective to training and education under the realm of lifelong learning. The advent of high-functional systems, rapid technological changes, and information overload has created new challenges and problems for training and education. More advanced knowledge is acquired after the age of formal schooling has passed (10: 43). In a number of institutions, it is attained via educational processes, which do not focus on the traditional schooling.
Learning must be examined throughout life because prior notions of a divided lifetime education accompanied by work are no longer tenable. Professional activities have become fluid in content and knowledge-intensive to the extent that learning has become an integral part of adult work activities. Learning has become a new version of labor, and working tends to be a collaborative effort among peers and colleagues (7:56).
In the modern knowledge society, an educated individual is someone who is willing to embrace learning as a lifelong process. Learning has become part of living and a natural outcome of being alive and in contact with the world. Therefore, learners need not only instructions but also access to the world to have an opportunity to play a reasonable part in it. Therefore, workplace learning and school learning ought to be integrated.
Section two: Concepts of Lifelong Learning
Lifelong learning is an all-purpose learning activity, which is undertaken on a progressive basis with the goal of improving skills, knowledge, and competence. Higher education helps prepare students to be learners by developing specific skills and dispositions described by lifelong learning. Literature on lifelong learning conveys common themes that articulate characteristics that transform training and education into the concept of lifelong learning (1:24).
Section 3: Self-motivated learning
There is a strong emphasis on the need for people to take responsibility for their own learning. Therefore, lifelong learners are defined not by the form of training or education in which they are involved but their personal characteristics leading to that involvement. Experts have emphasized the value of locus of successful academic performance and control (8:82). Personal characteristics of people who are expected to engage in learning either formally or informally in their entire lives tend to acquire:
- The necessary attitudes and skills for learning, particularly numeracy and literacy skills,
- The confidence to learn and a feeling of engagement with the training and education system.
- Motivation and willingness to learn.
Although training and education might have economic benefits for people, it is acknowledged that economic motivators are not primarily adequate to incentivize individuals to participate in training and education. Some motivational obstacles must be identified and addressed so that some individuals could participate in training and education. Although some of these factors are economic and can be tackled with financial aid, most people are deterred from participating in training and education by social and personal factors. While recognizing the factors acting as barriers and motivators to participate in training and education, lifelong learning tends to promote the engagement in learning for its sake and not for the purpose of employment. Therefore, the goal of engaging in learning seems to be more significant than the reason itself. This is viewed as recognition of the range of factors motivating people to engage in formal and informal learning and instrumental goals (4:20).
Section 4: A mechanical engineering concept
Drafting is a technical concept by which mechanical engineers design products and create instructions for manufacturing parts. Traditionally, the technical drawing was a hand-drawn schema illustrating all the necessary dimensions to produce a part, assemble the notes, a set of required materials and pertinent information. However, with the advent of technology, this concept has been modified and a computer model has replaced the hand-drawn schematic. Mechanical engineers creating technical drawings are often referred to as drafters. Historically, drafting has had a two-dimensional process, but currently, computer aided programs enable the designers to create in three dimensions.
Section 5: Importance of lifelong learning
The past several years have witnessed an increase in interest to lifelong learning mostly because societal changes are triggered by information technology. Technologies are becoming increasingly complex, while knowledge is being produced and transformed at a rapid rate. Fixing a human heart or a car is considerably less complicated currently than it was generations ago. In some instances, employees tend to offer the training required and want employees to participate in the training.
Nevertheless, the American Society for Mechanical Engineers (ASME) staff cannot count on abandoning an organization that gave them their first job and training. Career enhancement and job mobility are contingent on progressing upgrade of skills for ASME staff. Therefore, individuals in work-involving skills such as ASME employees recognize that their future relies on their continuing expansion of skills even when their organizations are not offering the training for them (6:39).
In capitalist countries, former communist countries, and present communist ones, economics is the driving force of education in all levels and lifelong education. This applies to global competitiveness in business whereby the names of competing firms are shifting. However, besides economics, other factors that form the rationale for lifelong learning include enriching of human life. Humanity requires the ability to enrich and adopt the human culture broadly and deeply. Others may have passed with good grades but have minimal interest in widening their knowledge. A vast majority has taken music appreciation classes but has never attended a symbolic concert even when it is readily accessible. Often, schooling has been seen as a key factor in curtailing instead of stimulating people continuing interest in the sciences and the arts of the culture. This issue has attracted diverse views of politicians and philosophers who argue that the community must desire for each child what the better parent would desire for their children (3:28).
The other rationale for lifelong learning focuses on sustainability in the most profound sense: the ability to sustain life in the world. Until recently, the world was immersed in bloodshed because of wars. Currently, people are peacefully assembled in the same world. The current century cannot lull anyone that the world is ending. Instead, the human race has had to choose between catastrophe and education. The problems of the world are complex. This is because substantial historical lessons can be easily misunderstood, while the cultural and national contexts that encapsulate people can sow the bad seeds of discontent and mistrust among people (9: 36). This justifies the need for continuous learning in a world where ubiquitous information technology has replaced obstacles to global competition. However, it is even more vital for continuous learning to take place so that people could increase their collective level of intelligence and understanding about the issues they face as a human race. This is their best opportunity to get out of the current century alive and successful.
Section 6: Challenges in lifelong learning
There is an assurance that people developing applications and hardware will continue to make progress. The extension of these resources will promote lifelong learning as determined by the ability to overcome various challenges like:
Access – A big number of populations lacks access to Internet resources. This has fallen sharply among people in rural areas, especially impoverished rural zones.
Disposition – The fact that there is greater opportunity for lifelong learning through the Internet should not lead people to presume that the opportunities will be embraced. This demands a major radical change in the instructional programs of schools to affect the student’s continuous learning (2:26).
Capability: For years, people who have thought carefully about education have realized that everyone needs to become his/her own teacher. The disposition of desire to learn must match the capability. Formal learning programs must incorporate explicit focus on the involvement of self-directed learning. The best success indicator is the recognition that students no longer need teachers. The issue of capability is broadened by the use of the Internet. The Internet is a huge resource filled with the best and the worst information that human beings can acquired. It contains errors, truths, the worthless, and the valuable (5:37).
Section 7: Conclusion
Lifelong learning and training are essential problems for the current and future information worlds. Unfortunately, these issues require complex answers and facts to enumerate successes and failures. To recognize the complexity of the problems associated with lifelong learning requires that individuals reinvent, rethink, and pool resources in the future. The viewpoint of lifelong learning is more than continuing education and training because it forces people to reinvent their schools and universities. People ought to understand the co-evolutionary processes between basic human activities and their interdependencies and relationships with the new media (10: 44).
They need progress and an in-depth understanding of innovative systems, new theories, assessment, and practices. People must also create new physical aspects, intellectual spaces, new reward structures, and new organizational forms to make lifelong learning a vital component of human life. This requires organizations, groups, and individuals to partake and experience these new forms. For the risk-takers, using their imagination and creativity to explore alternative ways of learning is an inevitable practice.
Section 8: References
- Andain, Ian, and Murphy Gerard. Creating lifelong learners: Challenges for education in the 21st century. Cardiff: International Baccalaureate. 2008
- Chapman, Judith. School, Community and Lifelong Learning. London: Continuum International Pub. Group. 2008
- Evans, Karen. Learning, work, and social responsibility: Challenges for lifelong learning in a global age. Dordrecht: Springer. 2009
- Field, John. Lifelong learning and the new educational order. Stoke-on-Trent [u.a.: Trentham. 2006
- Field, John. Social capital and lifelong learning. Bristol: Policy Press. 2010
- Naimpally, Ashok, and Ramachandran Hema. Lifelong learning for engineers and scientists in the information age. London: Elsevier. 2012
- Scales, Peter. Teaching in the lifelong learning sector. Maidenhead: Open University Press. 2013
- Sharma, Tara C. Meaning of lifelong learning. New Delhi, India: Sarup & Sons. 2011
- Wankel, Charles. University and corporate innovations in lifelong learning. Charlotte, N.C: IAP – Information Age Pub. 2008
- Williams, Michael. Citizenship education and lifelong learning: Power and place. Hauppauge, N.Y: Nova Science Publishers. 2013
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