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Lifelong Learning versus Expertise

Lifelong learning is a learning activity all through a man’s life that involves enriching skills and aptitude contained in personal, societal or job-related point of view (EUROPA, 2006). Basically, lifelong learning entails in the learner that there is no right time in learning something to improve oneself. This is usually practiced in different jobs or social groups to enhance the skills of its members for the betterment of the organization.

This learning acknowledges formal learning, such as earning a degree, and informal learning, such as training in the workplace. On the other hand, becoming an expert in a field of knowledge usually requires formal learning, such as getting a degree. A person cannot be called an expert on a field of knowledge without formal education. According to an article by Sage (1999), new information about different fields comes out every now and then. It is for people in practice to choose which of this information will be useful in their work.

This rapid change of society today to becoming knowledge-based is a challenge for formal education for a structure of lifelong learning. Usually, students in classroom are bombarded with concepts and facts. But not all these concepts and facts are used in practice. Therefore, learning programs should also teach its students to learn independently and to know how to use the concepts they learn in school and what concept to use at certain times.

Learning programs in schools should instill adult learning principles in students to make them flexible in adjusting to changes in their fields. Also. A student should be taught on how to not enclose himself on a certain field of knowledge, because most work nowadays is interdisciplinary. Thus, even if a person is an expert on a certain field of knowledge, he will still has to learn about other fields in whatever work he takes. Thus, learning will not stop after a person graduates from a degree.

Eventually, an expert will still have to resort to lifelong learning in order to update his knowledge on his field in order to keep up with the changes in his field.


EUROPA – Education and Training. (2006, March 5). What is Lifelong Learning?. Retrieved January 28, 2008, from http://ec. europa. eu/education/policies/lll/life/what_islll_en. html Sage, Linda (1999). Stressing the importance of lifelong learning. Washington People. Retreived January 28, 2008, from http://record. wustl. edu/archive/1999/07-15-99/people. html

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