Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 18 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter introduces key concepts, including lifelong education, lifelong learning and recurrent education, and outlines key issues that have shaped this field. First, the origins and main understandings of lifelong learning and cognate concepts from the 1970s are discussed. Commonalities across these key concepts are highlighted, as are crucial differences that create conflicting understandings. A schema is presented to compare and classify different understandings of the concepts. Second, the resurgence of interest in lifelong learning from the 1990s onward is traced, and the reasons for it, including economic competitiveness, globalization, and the focus on knowledge creation, are discussed. A novel emphasis on learning has resulted from the rise to preeminence of the concept “lifelong learning.” Diverse understandings about learning have fueled ongoing disagreements about the role and significance of lifelong learning. Some interpretations limit the scope of learning to the kinds characteristic of formal education systems. Others regard lifelong learning as covering all kinds of informal learning. These differing valuations of learning underpin much of the ongoing disputes about lifelong learning. The emerging notion of the learning society is also outlined and discussed. It features the same conceptual conflicts that marked the earlier concepts. Third, four common criticisms of lifelong learning are outlined and discussed. All criticisms are shown to make assumptions about learning that favor formal learning, while marginalizing informal learning. Thus, even today, understanding of lifelong learning and its significance is hampered by tendencies to adhere to narrow views of learning that many people develop unreflectively from their experiences of formal education.

Keywords: lifelong education, lifelong learning, recurrent education, informal learning, learning society, economic competitiveness, globalization, knowledge creation

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.