Lifelong Education


The current paper represents a summary of literature on the issue of lifelong learning, which has recently become a fashionable trend in the field of education. Essential points of the paper concern a number of pedagogic approaches to establishing lifelong courses and programs for specialists in various fields of expertise. At the same time, the analysis of literature represents versatility of the term and denotes necessity for further investigation of the topic. The pedagogical systems which have already been elaborated on the topic of lifelong learning approach to education are characterized by the necessity for motivation and support in order to make people more engaged in this phenomenon. The researches which are analyzed in the paper state that lifelong learning is among the primary trends in education due to the fact that they cause numerous advantages to the learners regardless of their age, gender, and occupation.

Modern society is drastically changing the development of the role of education in the world.

Knowledge, information, and innovation have become the fundamental socio-economic factors in the development of any state. Formation of an information society, where knowledge is converted into the main wealth, is changing the place and importance of education in all areas of human life. Currently, there exists an urgent need to form a unified system of lifelong professional education, which would be aimed at professional development of one’s personality, thus forming individuals that are capable of creative thinking, self-education, self-generation, implementing new ideas in complete pedagogical process, and making original decisions in difficult professional situations. Therefore, this paper represents a summary of literature on the phenomenon of lifelong learning, as well as proves the fact that this approach to education is most innovative and fruitful in comparison to existing ones.

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Lifelong education is an issue that arose in the second half of the 1980s; since that time it has been studied by many scientists. On the one hand, organization of research on the topic contributes to development of theoretical and methodological foundations of lifelong pedagogical education. On the other hand, however, lifelong education undoubtedly has a significant impact on development of scientific and pedagogical knowledge and brings noticeable adjustments to science as such, including the process of teaching.

In accordance with the investigation held by Volles (2016), the study of lifelong education system should be conducted in the following areas: study of nature and study of patterns of development of lifelong professional education. As long as these are integral parts of lifelong education, they should be regarded within the notion. Moreover, it is important to consider lifelong professional training as a complete organizational structure. The system of lifelong professional education can be divided into three subsystems: pre-professional training, basic vocational education, and professional development. Volles (2016) also notes that integration of all educational systems is of great importance to the creation of common educational space. These systems, in the author’s point of view, should initiate the creation of educational and scientific and research centers that would promote interaction between trainees and teachers, as well as testing and introduction of scientific achievements into practice (Volles, 2016). Although the research offers a systematic approach, in practice, however, it often uses fragmentary approach to professional training, when some processes enrich the personality of a specialist, whereas others, on the contrary, impoverish and deform it. Thus, organization of lifelong professional education system in a new socio-economic environment requires reliance on science-based management of the system.

Another researcher, Rogers (2016), has a strong conviction that a decent model of lifelong professional education would include methodological conditions for self-renewal of knowledge and creativity, as well as enhance professionalism. Herein, formation of a new type of a specialist requires high level of training, which will enable people to maximize their intellectual potential and implement analysis to processes that occur in the society. The final result of lifelong professional education of a specialist should demonstrate an integral, effective, and lifelong system of professional pedagogical training that promotes continuous personal growth, professional self-development, and self-improvement of an expert. The trend of the lifelong education, as a fundamental and guiding principle of personal development and value of every individual, provides creation of a new type of a person who will be able to lead an active life in modern dynamically changing socio-economic conditions. As a result, such individuals will make maximum contribution to self-development and self-realization, as well as development of society and its progressive update. In this reference, personality development is considered by the author as a lifelong process, orientation of educational and informative activities not only to acquisition of knowledge, but also to active transformation of the surrounding world (Rogers, 2016). Education should serve for the development of an individual throughout his/her lifetime: during the years of childhood and early youth, in the years of active employment, and during retirement. The task of lifelong learning is not so much to enrich humans with new knowledge, but to maintain their professional competence throughout their lives.

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With reference to Quendler and Lamb (2016), the main purpose of lifelong education, as recorded in UN documents and educational programs in most developed countries, is a fundamental change of “The Higher School of Strategies”. It mainly implies a divergence from narrow professional application of specialist training in the formation of a highly competent person, an intellectual who understands the need for lifelong self-improvement and self-sacrifice to people and his/her country. In addition, it presupposes introduction of a new, more effective level of cooperation within all levels of education, which will provide all students with an opportunity of smooth and gentle transition from one stage to another in the process of training. Hereby, Quendler and Lamb (2016) make a basic methodological conclusion: lifelong education is not a new educational system, but a principle that embraces the entire educational organization, a pillar which forms the basis of every element of any educational system.
According to the investigation conducted by Sugiyama, Pathumcharoenwattana, Burasirirak, and Santiparp (2016), lifelong education pedagogy can become an entire fundamental basis for functioning and modernization of present education system, as it is a relatively independent area of scientific knowledge.

The notion of lifelong education pedagogy develops in close relationship with various sciences.

Philosophical sciences (philosophy, philosophy of education, logic, etc.) are applied to help to determine the meaning and purpose of lifelong education, as well as take into account the possible effect of general laws of development of society and humans on it.

Psychological sciences (such as psychology, management psychology, psycho-diagnostics, educational psychology, and others) contribute to better understanding of the patterns of development of human psyche involved in lifelong educational process, the mechanism of forming attitudes, motivation, values, and value attitude to lifelong education (Sugiyama et al., 2016).

Physiological science explains the biological nature of a man, i.e. the development of higher nervous activity, typological features of nervous and other systems of a human body in terms of lifelong education.

Hence, there is an evident link between lifelong pedagogic education and politics, anthropology, axiology, sociology, history, economics, cybernetics, management, and other sciences. This provides lifelong pedagogical education with solid theoretical foundation; it allows discovering the essence of learning patterns, forms, and methods of lifelong education (Sugiyama et al., 2016).

Another interesting point of view is suggested in the study of Asongu and Nwachukwu (2016). The authors have a conviction that the need for lifelong education entails the principle of continuity, which determines the character of relations between its stages and contributes to establishment of its laws and logic. The task of continuity is to preserve elements of lifelong education system or individual performance while performing a transition to every new state (Asongu & Nwachukwu, 2016). In the course of transition from a certain stage of education to other more complex needs, educational motives vary, and motivation for higher (in this case – improved and developed) education is formed (Asongu & Nwachukwu, 2016). This results in value attitude of a person to lifelong learning. Thus, the principle of continuity serves the basis for accumulating facts for analysis, management, and planning of personal development.

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In this regard, Guerrero et al. (2016, p. 31) express a strong view about the possibility of studying the line of succession: “preschool educational institution – school – high school – college – training, etc.”. The principle of coordination proves helpful in the study and use of the mechanism of interaction of the subjects of lifelong education at all levels of pedagogical process. Analysis of the research held by Guerrero et al. (2016) shows that there exist different approaches to interpretation of the principle of coordination in lifelong learning. However, common to all researchers is a need to understand the nature of coordination, which is to ensure harmonious interaction of all aspects of the process of lifelong education. Furthermore, interaction of all elements is necessary not only within the educational system, but also with other social systems and institutions, such as politics, family, economics, religion, culture, etc. (Guerrero et al., 2016). Thus, coordination is aimed at achieving the main goal, i.e. formation of valuable attitude of an individual to lifelong learning. In the context of lifelong pedagogical education, the characteristics of professional competence become more secure, because each stage brings its own specifics into the process of acquiring the necessary integrative abilities (Guerrero et al., 2016). In this reference, pedagogical colleges have always been focused on development of applied skills in their students. They have always had considerable experience in organization of lifelong teaching practice. In addition, such colleges demonstrate an individualized learning process that allows resorting to training and individual counseling more often than in high school (Guerrero et al., 2016). The distance between teachers and students at the stage of higher education is to a certain extent reduced. It must be admitted, however, that this circumstance creates a situation of overprotection of students by teachers. Nevertheless, this is only one of the problems that arise due to transition to two-tier system of lifelong education (Guerrero et al., 2016).

On the basis of a later research, namely, the investigation of Sockalingam et al. (2016), the dialogism principle in lifelong learning implies subject-subject relations, equal cooperation, and interaction of a teacher and a student. It should be noted that the principle of separation is not absolute, since they are inextricably linked and are responsible for effective functioning of each other and lifelong pedagogical education in general. The authors state that the features of lifelong education pedagogy are defined by its object, subject, principles, and tasks that it performs (Sockalingam et al., 2016). Lifelong learning of teachers is one of the most important areas of implementation of the idea of continuity of education. Herein, lifelong professional education may be associated with creation of specific organizational structures that allow slightly different approach to conducting the process of preparing teachers. The authors particularly highlight the existence of training and educational facilities, including specialized colleges and universities (Sockalingam et al., 2016). With reference to a wide variety of specialties, these complexes have gained considerable experience in coordinating activities within curricula and training programs, providing scientific and methodological support of the learning process to students, facilitating professional development of college teachers on the basis of universities, as well as joint implementation of research topics and completion of educational assignments with students (Sockalingam et al., 2016).

Nowadays there exists no single point of view on the structure of lifelong education. However, similarly to any science, teaching and pedagogy of lifelong education may be characterized by certain common features. According to Carlson (2016), this is its cognitive function, which can be divided into two aspects: information that provides the emergence of new knowledge about the system of lifelong education, as well as reveals its patterns and prospects; and theory, which develops methodological principles of cognition of lifelong learning and summarizes factual material. As stated by Carlson (2016), diagnostic function of the system of lifelong education describes its current state and reveals the conditions necessary for efficient educational process. Predictive function may also be outlined; it presupposes an ability to apply the results of lifelong education research to making reasonable predictions about future trends in development of educational processes. Carlson (2016) also states that monitoring function is equally important. It is designed to correlate the objectives of lifelong learning and to provide feedback between the subjects and objects of the educational process. Lifelong learning also performs imaging function, which aims to preserve or change the image of a person.

A slightly different approach to the issue is shown by Ferrari (2016), who has a strong conviction that teaching in lifelong learning is a relative self-direction among pedagogical sciences, which has its specific subject of research, principles, and tasks as a branch of science, as well as practices certain functions. The importance of developing scientific knowledge is predetermined by the processes that currently occur in modern society and education. Lifelong learning will develop new ways to improve the overall educational system and its individual representatives in particular. Ferrari (2016) also claims that lifelong vocational training system is designed to provide both vertical and horizontal mobility in education of a person throughout his/her life. The structural component of this system, aimed at realization of the first type of educational mobility of citizens, is characterized by transition of an individual from one level of education to another, thus performing different educational trajectories, and is defined as a subsystem of formal (institutional) professional education (Ferrari, 2016). This component of the system comprises the following subsystems: initial education, secondary education, higher professional, and postgraduate education.

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A similar point of view is found in the work of Talbot, Meakin, and Jones (2016). The investigators believe that the component of lifelong professional education requires the implementation of horizontal educational mobility that is to be formalized in legislation on education. In scientific literature, this component is also referred to as a subsystem of ‘transformation of qualification’ (Talbot et al., 2016). Thus, the problem of lifelong professional education is a priority issue, caused by the present stage of technological development and by political, socio-economic, and cultural changes happening in society. At the same time, lifelong education is not only a pedagogical problem (Talbot et al., 2016). It bears a comprehensive and interdisciplinary character, which is at the stage of deep reflection by philosophers, sociologists, educators, and representatives of other sciences.

The essence of lifelong learning and its implications in connection with the adult learners are a significant issue. The essential implication of the lifelong learning when teaching the older population is the constant improvement of the motivation and knowledge of the learners to provide them with the opportunity of career and professional growth and obtaining the higher financial benefits from the skills they already possess and the ones which are expected to be developed on the basis of the lifelong learning. Personal experience shows that people who have graduated from the higher educational institutions do not actively participate in educational events. The only way to motivate them for being engaged in lifelong learning is the perspective of constant development of personality and professional skills and the opportunity to earn more money and find better perspectives in professional development which are more financially supported.

To conclude, it is also important for an individual style of pedagogical activity in lifelong learning conditions to acquire certain characteristics and to be perceived by students. At the same time, the process of transition to a two-tier model of higher education is associated with a number of serious problems. This process will undoubtedly be difficult, especially in terms of lifelong training of professionals. The complex of lifelong learning is a top priority; however, it entails certain difficulties, the most serious of them being a need for methodical and scientific support of implementation of new educational and training programs, teacher training, as well as colleges and universities. The fact that the new educational model will require teachers to focus on teaching students how to integrate information, synthesize, analyze, project theory to the practical field of their future professional activity raises its significance even more. Obtaining information is becoming possible for those who want to get a proper education. The question, therefore, remains in restructuring professional consciousness of those who teach students.

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