• Rikke Stennei Vaabengaard
  • Ida Hjortshøj Lindgren
4. term, Learning and Innovative Change, Master (Master Programme)
Keywords: Lifelong learning, adult education, practice theory, sociocultural learning perspective

The world is in constant change and the globalization, technological development and a prolonged work life inflict on every individual’s ability to adapt to change. International and national policies on lifelong learning prescribe that education should be a part of upgrading the workforce to ensure a competitive society in the light of the challenges of the globalization. This is seen in the way the educational landscape has changed. From seeing education as a part of an individual identity development, to seeing education as a mean to create a competitive society in a globalized world. This seems to be a political agenda, which demands constant upgrading of the workforce.

Lifelong learning has a broad definition, but in this thesis, it is defined as learning, which continues throughout life. It is the knowledge, the skills and the competences people acquire throughout all the social life arenas that they are a part of. This thesis focuses on adults and teachers who participate in further education. This is interesting because current research on adults as participants in further and continued education shows a challenge for this group. The challenge is to balance work, family and spare time and at the same time being part of an educational programme. Because of this challenge the adult learner demands a meaningful content in the education in order to prioritize and make time for further and continued education. This thesis applies a practice-oriented qualitative approach to investigate how teaching lessons, in adult further and continued education - graduate diploma - create learning, and how this is affected by the conditions and circumstances at place. The abovementioned contributes to a discussion whether or not lifelong learning should be seen in a wider context and not only focus on the individual contribution to a competitive society.

A practice theoretical approach inspired by Kemmis et al. (2014) is applied methodically and analytically in order to create an objective view on the social activities. In order to do so this thesis is based on the teaching practices observed and on the people's words, actions and relational bonds to human and to nonhuman objects. The empirical material is formed by observation of two teaching locations on a University College in Denmark. Furthermore, it is formed by interviews inspired of practice theory of six people who participated in the teaching lessons - both students and teachers. The curriculum plan for the graduate diploma and the educational announcement of this level of education are included in order to describe some of the national and organizational framework in which, the teaching lessons are subjective to. A sociocultural learning perspective inspired by Olga Dysthe (1997) are included in order to understand, which learning traditions are to be found in the teaching lessons. This is applied to emphasize on how these traditions can contribute to the participation, commitment and the expectations of the students in their learning processes.

The analytical points of this study point to a socialization of adult learners through an understanding in the society, that lifelong learning is a premise as well as an individual responsibility for adult learners to ensure their future in the workforce. Adult learners are a part of multiple life arenas and the interesting part is that they prioritize other activities in life in order to make time for further and continued education. The actual teaching lessons arise overall from a political agenda. The fact that the associate professors facilitate interaction and involvement through dialogue and bodily activities in the teaching lessons, generates commitment and meaningfulness in the adult learners’ learning processes. However, learning can be restricted in lack of expectation from the workplace to apply newly acquired knowledge in practice.

This thesis suggests a shift in focus from lifelong learning to lifewide learning, and an organizational responsibility for implementing newly acquired knowledge to ensure a competitive knowledge society. This adds up to further research into barriers and challenges for implementing newly applied knowledge for individuals in existing work practises.
Publication date3 Jun 2019
Number of pages92
External collaboratorProfessionshøjskolen
Rikke Vaabengaard stennei_rud@hotmail.com
ID: 304889123