The troubling terrain of lifelong learning: a highway cruise or a cross-country trek?

White, Robert D. (2008) The troubling terrain of lifelong learning: a highway cruise or a cross-country trek? In: Troubling terrains: tactics for traversing and transforming contemporary educational research. Post Pressed, Brisbane, Australia, pp. 137-147. ISBN 9781921214318


Educational theory now takes for granted that lifelong learning is inherently good. It is assumed that in a globalised era people need to continue learning over their lifespan. Without a demonstrable general awareness of determinants, educational theory pictures lifelong learning as a cruise on the highway of life. By contrast, educational research shows that it is more in the nature of a lifelong cross-country trek. Determinants are situated in the terrain of each person's unique life experiences. Although policy supports universal lifelong learning theoretically, the reality of the policy agenda is quite different. What little research into propensity to lifelong learning exists indicates that up to a third of the population not only do not but will not participate. Theory evidently does not fully reflect reality. However, research is providing an emerging picture of participation and non-participation in formal lifelong learning. Indeed, it is the terrain of people's lives which holds the key to understanding that participation and non-participation. Motivators required for a trek differ from those required for a cruise. Lifelong learning research is an area of educational research's terrain which should trouble theory until theory better reflects reality.

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Item Type: Book Chapter (Commonwealth Reporting Category B)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Author retains copyright.
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Education
Date Deposited: 21 Aug 2009 05:52
Last Modified: 14 Sep 2016 03:14
Uncontrolled Keywords: lifelong learning
Fields of Research : 17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences > 1701 Psychology > 170103 Educational Psychology
13 Education > 1302 Curriculum and Pedagogy > 130202 Curriculum and Pedagogy Theory and Development
13 Education > 1302 Curriculum and Pedagogy > 130213 Vocational Education and Training Curriculum and Pedagogy
Socio-Economic Objective: E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970113 Expanding Knowledge in Education

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