Lifelong and worklife learning
In much of the English speaking world, the phrase or proper noun - Lifelong Learning - is usually associated with adults' learning across their lives as directed towards particular intentions associated with enrichment of the cultural, recreational or occupational kinds. Hence, unlike concepts associated with human development across the lifespan, which has an emphasis on phases of development across ontogeny (i.e. personal history) associated with maturation, the emphasis on specific kinds of intentional learning. So, it is a term used to refer to learning through participation in programs supporting their learning in fields of personal recreational or cultural interest. However, the term 'lifelong learning' was co-opted by key global agencies in the Year of Lifelong Learning in 1996 and, whilst still referring principally to adults' ongoing learning was redefined to have a strong economic emphasis and imperative. In this way, it is now more aligned with concepts such as professional development and continuing education and training, both of which usually have an intentional emphasis on occupationally focussed learning. Indeed, the OECD (1996), identified two key qualities for this new concept of lifelong learning as individuals needing: i) to continue learning occupationally specific knowledge throughout their working life to resist becoming redundant, to maintain their competence and develop further their work-related capacities and ii) to take responsibility for this learning, rather than relying upon government or employers. Hence, in an era of global economic competition in which the competence of the workforce is central to securing national economic and social well-being, lifelong learning as a process of ongoing learning across individuals' lives is now being defined by governments and key global agencies in economic terms for both personal and community purposes. As a variation of this conception to adults' learning, the term worklife learning appears to have its origins in the social democratic movements of Scandinavia. The term captures a broader set of concerns about learning for work that goes beyond the technical aspects of particular occupations. Instead, it includes factors associated with the wider aspects of the quality of working life, particularly occupational health and safety, involvement in workplace decision-making and the workplace as a community of workers.
Encyclopaedia of the Sciences of Learning
Technical, Further and Workplace Education