The lifelong learning concept has changed over the past years by different scholars such as Jacque Delors and international organisations such as OECD, World Bank and European Commission It is a concept that many countries try import into their educational policies to better their economies.
The purpose of this essay is to use literature review to analyse the 20th century term lifelong learning prefiguring the ideas in the 21st century learning and the discourse of lifelong learning and knowledge economy.
The structure of this essay is to define lifelong learning, briefly describe its history, international organisations perspective of lifelong learning and briefly identify the characteristics of lifelong learning. Furthermore the lifelong learning concept in the 20th and 21st century will be analysed in this essay.
There has not been a formal definition of the lifelong learning concept. This is due to the concept being used by many other areas of education such as adult education, further training and any other related terms to learning outside the formal education system as stated by Aspin et al ‘particularly when a range of other apparently similar terms – education permanente, ‘further education’, ‘continuing education’, and so on – were often used interchangeably with it and with each other (Aspin et al 2007, p.19).
The general definition of the lifelong learning given by the Davis as ‘continuously supportive process which stimulates and empowers individuals to acquire all the knowledge, values, skills and understanding they will require throughout their lifetimes and to apply them with confidence, creativity and enjoyment in all roles, circumstances, and environments.’(Davies 1993, p.125).
Rojvithee further explains the process of acquiring the knowledge, skills and values of lifelong learning as ‘Lifelong education means education resulting from integration of formal, non-formal, and informal education so as to create ability for continuous lifelong development of quality of life. Learning is therefore part of life which takes place at all times and in all places. It is a continuous lifelong process, going on from birth to the end of our life, beginning with learning from families, communities, schools, religious institutions and workplaces’ (Rojvithee 2005, p.1).
The concept of lifelong learning began earlier in the 1920’s in England, by two scholars called Basil Yeaxlee and Edward Lindeman. Yeaxlee and Lindeman identified the boundaries of the fundamental principles of adult education, and therefore consequently leading to lifelong learning. As Faris states they understood education as an ongoing process, affecting mainly adults, and certainly not restricted to formal school. They also introduced the concepts of “life-as-education”, and the valuing of individual’s experiences as much as their formal education (Faris 2004, p.4)
The period from 1930’s to 1970’s is explained by Kearns et al as ‘The focus at the this...