Reimagining Lifelong Learning: A brief history of an idea

This paper was commissioned by Dame Ruth Silver, President of the Further Education Trust for Leadership, as a contribution to the work of the Independent Commission on Lifelong Learning.

It gives an overview of the use of the term ‘lifelong learning’, how it emerged as an idea and how it has since been re-understood and reimagined by policy-makers, planners and educationalists, viewed through the lens of key developments in thinking and influential policy documents and statements. It does not pretend to be comprehensive but aims, instead, to give an overview of the main trends and ideas that led to the concept’s adoption, globally and at national level, as an important educational paradigm, and to its subsequent revisions and reimaginings.

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