Complete Model of Lifelong Learning Participation: Role of Positive Environments and Supportive Relationships
Using grounded theory to analyse data collected through in-depth interviews of a group of successful lifelong learners in Singapore, a model of lifelong learning participation was derived from a study concluded in 2006. Part of this model was described in a paper presented at the 15th International Conference on Learning in 2008.
In this model, the concept of learning career is used to analyse engagement in learning as a process which takes place in different stages over time. It shows how a triggering factor can lead to reflection concerning one's presuppositions about learning. This, in turn, leads to the evaluation of reasons for learning. If the factors for learning outweigh obstacles against learning, the decision is made to participate in learning. Success with post-school learning builds self-confidence and develops a learning disposition. People who used to lack confidence become transformed into learners with strong learner identities over time. They continue to engage in lifelong learning despite encountering some setbacks in their learning journeys.
This paper adds on to the earlier paper by completing the model through the inclusion of contextual factors. It shows how different spheres of influence like the family, government, community, economy, education and work can affect an individual's lifelong learning journey, either positively or negatively.
There is also strong evidence that the presence of a positive and supportive environment with mentors, role models and supportive others provides an enabling context for initial and subsequent engagement in post-school learning.
Keywords: Lifelong Learning, Adult learning, Motivation, Grounded Theory, Insider Perspective, Learning Career, Learner Identities, Holistic Approach
Dr. Siew Kheng Ng
Affiliation not supplied