A Model of Lifelong Learning Participation: Perspectives From Insiders
In 2002, twenty-three people won a nation-wide contest organised by Singapore's national radio company to become its pioneer group of lifelong learner award winners. All of them were chosen on the basis that they had overcome economic, social and psychological odds to engage in lifelong learning. Thirteen of them volunteered for this study. Using grounded theory methodology to analyse data collected through in-depth interviews, a model illustrating lifelong learning participation from the perspecives of the insiders (the learners) was derived from the emergent common themes. The model provided by the insider perspective is richer than one which only identifies instumental reasons. It shows that although utilitarian reasons usually accounted for the initial decision to engage in post-school learning, lifelong learning took place as a result of the development of learning careers and through the strengthening of learner identities as well as the development of learning dispositions. Moreover, the model also confirms the need for a sociocultural theory of lifelong learning. Sociocultural factors, such as the presence of positive environments and supportive relationships with significant others, help to strengthen the learners' learning journeys. The findings further testify to the need for a more holistic approach to lifelong learning.
Keywords: Lifelong Learning, Adult Learning, Sociocultural Theory, Holistic Approach, Motivation, Insider Perspectives, Learning Career, Learner Identities
Dr. Siew Kheng Ng
Affiliation not supplied