Switched On for Life?

Lifelong learning & global citizenship | Week 8


Lifelong learning can be defined in its simplest form as “learning that is pursued throughout life” (What is lifelong learning?, 2013). Holistically lifelong learning enhances everyone’s understanding of the world providing us with “better opportunities and improve our quality of life” (Lifelong Learning, 2014).

The following summarises the key elements to lifelong learning:

  • Self-motivation – feeling positive about learning and your ability to learn (Lifelong Learning, 2014);
  • Acquiring – relevant and meaning information “through reading, listening, observing, practicing, experimenting and experience” (Lifelong Learning, 2014);
  • Search – “for a personal meaning in the information we’re acquiring” to place information into a context of what the information has taught you or what you have gained from the information (Lifelong Learning, 2014);
  • Triggers – to recall information for example “take notes, practice, discuss and experiment with new ideas and skills” to learn and develop (Lifelong Learning, 2014);
  • Examine – regularly examine your knowledge by questioning your understanding and perception of a subject reinforces what you have learned; be open to new information and explore others viewpoints (Lifelong Learning, 2014);
  • Reflect – on your learning, thinking about how and why you learned, how you feel about a topic or situation, what you know then and what you know now and reflect on mistakes and successes (Lifelong Learning, 2014).

As a pre-service teacher, I see it as my responsibility embed this learning within my digital pedagogy and provide meaningful opportunities to foster and develop these skills within the classroom. Further to this, lifelong learning is also an expectation from employers, who are education stakeholders, and “are looking for well-balanced people with transferable skills” and focus upon prospective employees who demonstrate they are keen to “learn and develop” (Lifelong Learning, 2014).

Lifelong learning brings global citizenship to the forefront of education, especially within the context of the digital world we live in today.  Alexander (2002, p. 77) states “we need to recognise that all learning has a global dimension”, adding that “the challenge of education… is to equip people with the skills, knowledge, attitudes and values which will enable them to understand and deal with a rapidly changing world” and “cope with these challenges effectively”.

As a pre-service teacher, this point highlights the junction between digital citizenship and lifelong learning. As digital technology provides a multitude of platforms to connect with individuals, groups and communities anywhere in the world (between those with access to such technology) individuals have the means to participate in the world as a global digital citizen. McLoughlin and Lee (2008) state that connectivism shifts focus from the “learning processes of the individual”, instead it “situates learning within the dynamics of social interaction, connection, and collaboration” and that “maintaining these connections is a skill that is essential for lifelong learning in a knowledge-based, networked society”.

Global digital citizen



Alexander, T. (2002). Integrating Lifelong Learning Perspectives. (C. Medel-Anonuevo, Ed.) Hamburg, Germany: UNESCO Institute for Education. Retrieved from http://www.unesco.org/education/uie/pdf/uiestud36.pdf

Global digital citizen [Image] (2013). Retrieved from https://communication4health.wordpress.com/author/vwsuzanne

Global Social Media Network [Image] (2011). Retrieved from  http://stockfresh.com/image/705251/global-social-media-network

Lifelong Learning. (2014). Retrieved from Skills You Need: http://www.skillsyouneed.com/ps/lifelong-learning.html

McLoughlin, C., & Lee, M. J. (2008). The Three P’s of Pedagogy for the Networked Society: Personalization, Participation, and Productivity. International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, 20(1), 10-27. Retrieved from http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ895221.pdf

What is lifelong learning? (2013). Retrieved from Lifelong Learning Council Queenland Inc: http://www.llcq.org.au/default.asp



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