Life-Long Learning Is ~ Cradle To Grave   Leave a comment

Bo Ingeborg’s perspective on the philosophy of life-long learning is a, “cradle to grave” progression of human potential through a constantly supportive process which encourages and inspires individuals to obtain all the comprehension, morals, abilities and understanding they will need throughout their lifetime. This knowledge helps people to relate within themselves self-confidence, motivation and satisfaction in all roles, experiences and environments. It is the ongoing development of maintaining the mind in active pursuit of new experiences and knowledge. This philosophy portrays a never ending journey. As eachhigh pointis passed on the highway to knowledge, another objective comes into view on the horizon. Life is a continuous learning cycle. There is no comparison to the amount of knowledge we take in through formal education compared to informal knowledge.

It is the attitude that it’s never too early or too late to incorporate new knowledge into your life. This belief describes the opportunities for intellectual development, cultural stimulation and personal growth which can open the door to a world of information. The viewpoint is based on individuals in society becoming better rounded citizens by furnishing them with learning opportunities at any age whether it is instilled in the home, through formal education, work or in religious environments. Formal and informal lifelong learning experiences can enlighten each other through the implementation of constructive approaches to learning. The curriculum in formal learning facilities can support the development of acquiring deep learning and critical thinking.

From the past, present and future we are seeing that formal education facilities are significantly changing along with the learners. Presently, more than ever before, one can find numerous students of diverse races and ages with differences in their national and heritage backgrounds/beliefs. Since there is such a range of learners, it is essential for knowledge to be colorful as well. The obtaining of knowledge always follows the constructs set by those who attain it. “Every student, regardless of their background is entitled to the building blocks of greater knowledge.”

To accomplish this, knowledge must incorporate critical-thinking and problem-solving capabilities as well as the competence for reflective learning. Critical thinking is described as “Reasonable, reflective thinking that is focused on what to believe or do” (Marshall and Rowland 1998:33). This is important for a student’s development since it helps them to become open to a diversity of perspectives, which is necessary beyond formal education and into the workplace. R. Paul described the phases of learning as, “The three stages of learning which form the basis for lifelong learning are: experiencing information literacy (learning), reflecting on the experience (being aware of learning) and applying the experience to a new context (transfer of learning)”. Individuals learn not only in formal settings, but also through non-formal situations. The key elements are neither school nor university taught, but are acquired in social groups or in the family. These life-long learning competencies guide an individual’s development through the years; they are personal, analytical and communicative. It is the capability of utilizing logic, the ability of writing, speaking, listening and the ability to display emotional balances which are all characteristics of the progression of knowledge within a student. Through the process of life-long learning an individual follows the path into life-long education.

The idea of lifelong education was first fully expressed in this century by Basil Yeaxlee (1929). He along with Eduard Lindeman (1926) provided an intellectual basis for a comprehensive understanding of education as a continuing aspect of everyday life.

It is seen as a development of citizens to achieve additional comprehension and aptitude which can be advantageous to them and contributory to the society. Life-long learning enriches one’s intelligence to grasp the basics of learning and enhances one’s soul to advance goodwill towards the society. This view point suggests that a critical practice of lifelong learning is steered by the concept of helping individuals become more open, responsible, citizen learners and workers who are capable of thinking, speaking and expand their knowledge in life, learning and work situations.

These individuals have a great impact to the lives of others. Although these people are different in nature and character they symbolize a prevalent purpose intended for the common good. Life-long learners view this process of attaining knowledge through further education as a responsibility to society withstanding all of its burden and difficulties.

Life-long learning is by now a reality for numerous adults. Some engage in learning to keep up with the rapid societal changes, others to improve their knowledge and capabilities. However, we know from work carried out in diverse places that a significant amount of adults do not contribute in the lifelong learning process. Some face hurtles that arise from a variety of reasons such as: financial set backs or family/home issues as well as the available learning opportunities which are poorly adapted to their learning needs or the situations in which they find themselves.

In the 21st century, employees need to be life-long learners, adapting continuously to changed opportunities and labor market demands of the knowledge economy. Life-long learning therefore, is not a luxury for any nation. Today, the educational systems in most countries will have to advance in that direction. More programs are needed to advance the lifelong learning philosophy which includes not only investigating ways of increasing the quality of secondary education, but also improving the guidelines to support different universities, programs, and procedures that permit all individuals to access education, whether to advance their skills for employments purposes or to satisfy their thirst for knowledge.

Whether we teaching our children (pedagogy) or examining how adults learn (andragogy), learning is fundamental to growing…growing is fundamental to life. Lifelong learning throws the axiom “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks” out the door.”

We commit to continue learning because “the trouble with the future is that it usually arrives before we’re ready for it” ~ Arnold H. Glasow


Ingeborg Bø.  (2005 July 14). Lifelong learning means learning from cradle.

Lindeman, E. C. (1926). To discover the meaning of experience. Survey 55: 545-546

Longworth N, Davies. (1995). Skills for a life-long learning age. 98

Marshall, L. & Rowland, F. (1998). A Guide to learning independently. 3rd Ed., Open University Press: Buckingham. 33

Paul, R., (1992 Spring). Critical Thinking: What, Why, and How. 77

Smith, M. K. (1996, 2001) Lifelong learning: The encyclopedia of informal education. 166 Retrieved June23, 2007 from Website:

Life-long learning and the knowledge economy. January 2003:

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