Monday, April 14, 2014

Lifelong learning (LLL)

Learning can occur in education or training institutions, the work place, the family or cultural and community settings. Learning is intrinsic and we engage in learning throughout our whole lives. Lifelong learning is a continuum that occurs from cradle to grave. Lifelong learning enables individuals of all ages to better informed and more active citizens, contributes to their personal well being and fulfillment, supports their creativity and innovation and encourages their full economic and societal participation. Lifelong learning refers to all purposeful learning activities, both formal and informal, that take place throughout our lives.


Lifelong learning (LLL) is “all purposeful learning activity, undertaken on an ongoing basis with the aim of improving knowledge, skills and competence”(The European Commission, 2000). Learning through life is about acquiring and updating all kinds of abilities, interests, knowledge and qualifications from the schools/universities to post retirement life. Lifelong learning is the continuous building of skills and knowledge throughout the life of an individual. Lifelong learning (LLL) encompasses the whole range of learning that includes formal, informal and non-formal learning.

Need for lifelong learning

The knowledge – based economy, new technologies and globalization all influence the needs to the population’s skills and competences (Laal and Salamati, 2012). Knowledge is being produced at an increasingly rapid pace and technologies become increasingly complex. Educators and employers are discovering that the changing demands of today’s workplace call for workers who are adaptable to change and know how to enhance their job skills.  Lifelong learning helps them acquire new knowledge and skills and helps them to adapt to the current technological change.


Self-directed learning –lifelong learning emphasize the need for individuals to take responsibility for their own learning.
Informal learning – learning in the information age is moving out of the school/universities into home, the community and the workplace. Informal learning is considered as a general life function.
Self-funded learning – it is the responsibility of an individual to finance their own continuing education. The West Report (1998) defines a lifelong learner as a person, who undertakes responsibility for their own learning and who is prepared to invest time, money and effort in education or training on a continuous basis.
Universal participation – the lifelong learning is necessary for social cohesion in a time of rapid economic and social change.

4 – pillars of a learning society

Jacques Delors report proposes four characteristics of lifelong learners.

Learning to do – acquiring and applying skills for the present and future environments.
Learning to be – promoting creativity and personal fulfillment.
Learning to know – self motivated learning is flexible, critical and capable.
Learning to live together – developing community tolerance, interpersonal understanding and mutual respect.


 Lifelong learning is a continuously supportive process which stimulates and empowers individuals to acquire all the knowledge, values, skills and understanding they will require throughout their lifetimes and to apply them with confidence, creativity and enjoyment in all roles, circumstances and environment (Longworth and Davies, 1996). Lifelong learning (LLL) leads to an enriching life of self-fulfillment and meaning. It helps them to make new friends and valuable relationships. It keeps a lifelong learner involved in active contributors to society. It creates a curious, hungry and open mind to increase their wisdom. It helps them to adapt to change and makes the world a better place to live. It not only enhances social inclusion, active citizenship and personal development, but also competitiveness and employability. It makes communities more productive and innovative as workers creative and discover new abilities and ideas. It strengthens the economy. A stronger economy means citizens benefit from the chance to earn more, live better and contribute to the economic system (Canlearn,2009).

Inspiring quotes on Lifelong learning

"As long as you live, keep learning how to live." -Seneca.

"Continuous learning is a minimum requirement for 
 success in any field." -Unknown author.

"I am still learning." - Michelangelo, age 87.

"The minute you stop learning, you stop growing."-Amy Deagle.

"Learning is not a race for information,
   it's walk of discovery." - Unknown author.

"Commit yourself to lifelong learning. The most valuable asset 
you'll ever have is your mind and what you put into it."  - Brian Tracy.


  1. Thanks for a good post. I am circulating your post to members of Indian Society for U3A.

  2. Great write-up! Writing is a talent, and it must not be wasted. As with everything that we had been entrusted, we should let it grow and share it with the world.>life long learner