later life learning

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As lifelong learning has become associated increasingly with retraining and with learning for employment, those people concerned with learning for its intrinsic satisfactions and sheer joy have searched for a term which makes a distinction. Members of the University of the Third Age in particular, since they are by definition out of the labour market, have emphasized the value to individuals and the community of continued learning throughout life, including learning undertaken during retirement. To this end, they have coined the term ‘later life learning’ to refer not only to learning for and by older people but to learning which is usually shared and pursued for its own value to human beings, for example in terms of personal growth and development. In doing so they reject what they see as the reductive view of instrumental education aimed at preparation for employment which is often the focus of contemporary government policy and funding. In this sense, later life learning is a concept which draws upon the theory of liberal education.

Subjects: Education.

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