Field J (2010) Lifelong learning. In: Peterson P, Baker E & McGaw B (eds.) International Encyclopedia of Education. 3rd ed. Amsterdam: Elsevier, pp. 89-95. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780080448947000166
Ideas of lifelong learning are central influences across much educational policy. The emphasis on learning also represents a shift of attention away from inputs and towards outputs, with implications for the nature of policy development, the roles and variety of institutional actors, and the ways in which quality and performance are measured. The concept itself has been widely promoted by international policy bodies such as the European Commission and OECD, and has a strongly normative dimension and a primarily economic orientation, marking a significant shift away from the humanistic ideals and reformist rhetoric of the 1970s debates over lifelong education. While it remains controversial among the academic community, the idea of lifelong learning - or related notions - is likely to pervade policy thinking for some time to come.
lifelong learning; adult education; competence; skills; knowledge economy