Lifelong learning

3 Apr

Information superhighway ‘bypassing adult learners’ — new study

Does it really surprise any education professionals to read how online technology has not helped people to become lifelong learners? And how the childhood experiences about learning and education are the  most significant predictors for the future interest in learning?

“Learning in later life appears to be primarily linked to positive attitudes to education that are usually formed during compulsory schooling. This means that young people who experienced early educational failure or felt alienated by the school system are very unlikely to participate in education as adults regardless of the opportunities available or potential benefits.” says Dr. Patrick White.

Don’t get me wrong. I like (learning) technology, and am hopelessly hooked to my computer, smartphone and even kindle. What worries me, though, is how different gadgets or software programs are presented as the ultimate answer for fixing education and mending the problem of falling grades and detached students. Technology is just a tool – how we use it makes all the difference.

Providing meaningful learning experiences for students takes the power struggle away from classrooms. This can be done with or without the technology. While working as an Academic Coordinator I used to say how teachers are my most important teaching tools, and I still think that being the reality of teaching and learning. It doesn’t help to have a fancy building with all the latest gadgets in every classroom if I don’t have teachers. But having my teachers willing to make learning a meaningful experience for students my school would be operational even without classrooms or any equipment. Teaching IS a contact sport.

If we wish to foster lifelong learning our students must be involved with worthwhile activities so that they can find learning interesting and rewarding. The negative attitude is the biggest challenge for lifelong learning. Empowering students to use their thinking skills (with or without technology) caters for positive approaches to learning. This is already a recognized and valid practice in Early Childhood Education where play is an important way for making learning an adventure student wants to repeat.

What could you do to foster lifelong learning?

4 Responses to “Lifelong learning”

  1. Eero Mäntylä April 3, 2012 at 11:23 pm #

    Nina, You are doing good job!

    Eero Mäntylä
    Human Resources 1989 – 2001

    • Nina April 4, 2012 at 5:47 am #

      Thank you Eero! I am trying my very best 🙂

  2. ruthcatchen April 4, 2012 at 4:45 am #

    Hi Nina,

    I wrote about this very topic today. I agree that we need to make learning meaningful and to do this, it must be a memorable experience. That doesn’t necessarily have to include technology, but it might. Meeting kids where they are and connecting with them to learn something they want to learn opens the door for understanding and learning things they also need to learn. Wanting to learn and innate curiosity are things students seem to “unlearn.” That needs to change!

    Here is my blog on life long learning:

  3. Nina April 4, 2012 at 5:52 am #

    Thank you Ruth,

    I think we have the very same vision about learning, and how it (for optimal results) needs an interested adult to interact with the learner. Unlearning is another huge topic to discuss, but I like to way you are using the word to describe the disconnect!

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