A study by the Pew Research Center found 54 percent of working adults believe it was essential to continuously update their skills to be successful in their careers. Why? To keep up with advances in technology that are disrupting industries from automakers to retail. So what changes will support this need and how can higher education help?
Whether our young high school graduates enter a trade school, community college, or university, their degree or certificate will not be the end of their education.
Don Pearson of Benton Harbor said being a lifelong learner is one of the most important lessons his parents taught him while he was growing up.
“As a kid, that was part of the culture in the home – learning all the time, reading all the time,” said Pearson, a 1975 Benton Harbor High School graduate. “There was literature everywhere. It’s become a hobby. My father reads constantly, even to this day. He’s 93 years old and that was one of the reasons I retired. He’s still reading. He’s still watching the news. And we still have great, stimulating conversations.”
This author prods universities to be more active in offering learning opportunities to older citizens.
“Around the world, the proportion of older adults is increasing day by day. These people have much to contribute to the development of society. Therefore, it is important that they have the opportunity to learn on equal terms with the young, and in age-appropriate ways. Their skills and abilities need to be recognized, valued and utilized”
Overall, this book constitutes a searching and wide-ranging exploration of how to expand and transform the role of universities in promoting life-long learning. Needless to say, the reform of higher education goes beyond mere pedagogy and didactics; it is a social process which links teaching and learning to students’ personal life patterns, their social and cultural context, and their chosen discipline.
In 1999, on the cusp of a new millennium, MIT professor Mitchel Resnick was on a panel where everyone was asked to pick the most important invention of the last millennium. One person said the printing press, another said the steam engine, and another the computer. Resnick said kindergarten.
From its arrival in the 1830s, he said, kindergarten eschewed the ”broadcast” method of teaching by which teachers disseminated information to students. That style would never fly with five-year-olds. Friedrich Froebel, the German educationalist who invented the “garden for children,” instead offered “a radically new approach to education, fundamentally different from schools that had come before,” said Resnick, a professor of learning research who also heads up the MIT Media Lab’s Lifelong Kindergarten research group.
It’s called the “4th Industrial Revolution” and lifelong learning is a key to making it happen.
COUNTRIES face two moving targets in the coming decade which is to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and raise national skill levels in order to survive and thrive in the so-called Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Everyone agreed that having a good experience in kindergarten is essential for lifelong learning. They also agreed that the current system doesn’t provide that.
In this article, researcher Christopher Brown interviewed educators and parents about how Kindergarten has changed. The focus has been on making kids ready for school. Instead, “Schools have to be ready for kids.”
Lifelong learning starts in Kindergarten. Is it starting right?
In the 10 years that Jacob Cohen, 70, has been retired from teaching, he has taken more than 100 courses at the University of North Carolina—Asheville, averaging three or four a semester. One of his favorite classes was about the history of life on earth, taught by a retired biology professor. He’s also taken classes on aging, science and history.
Cohen finds taking classes in retirement to be a challenging way to spend his time. “I always find six or eight (classes) that pique my interest,” Cohen says. “I end up with three or four. I like how I feel when I’m being mentally stimulated.”
In Wales, the expression ‘lifelong learning’ is often used as umbrella term for forms of learning which fall outside the school system. However, there is no universally accepted definition of the expression and other terms may also be used, including ‘further education.’ Here are some of what it encompasses:
Everything changes but the most constant thing in our world is change itself. Its momentum never ebbs. Change is why we’ve seen the evolution of computers from room-sized machines to devices no bigger than the phone you may be reading this on right now.
Change is not always positive, which is why we need to keep ahead of it. Lifelong learning is a way to do that. Read more…