Lifelong learning is defined as ‘all learning activity undertaken throughout life, with the aim of improving knowledge skills and competence within a personal, civic, social and/or employment-related perspective'.
Examine what forces, pressures, or expectations in our technologically-influenced, modern day living are making it increasingly necessary for people to continually ‘up-skill’. Consider whether there is adequate support for those needing to ‘up-skill’, and how the process of learning more about technology might be improved for those who have not previously had the opportunity to do so.
The world has changed significantly in terms of innovation and technological advancements. Today, performance depends not only on present standards, but also on maintaining them. In other words, the key to sustained economic growth is consistency – which has motivated a concept termed lifelong learning to aid its cause. Technology can be the best tool to achieve lifelong learning. However, people need more support to help them up-skill using technology. This paper analyses 1) the importance of continuous learning in the growth of a nation; 2) how technology can be used for up-skilling; and 3) the steps taken by countries to aid in educating people on new technologies and help them up-skill. (Thesis)
The need for up-skill is quite obvious (section 1). Electronics is ruling the world, and there are almost no sectors which do not use super fast computers and automation devices. This being the case, a person needs to be up-to-date with fast changing technology, in order to survive in this highly competitive world. There are a number of ways in which people can educate themselves and improve their skills to meet increasing standards; however, not everyone has the access to resources that could help them. With increase in population, and decrease in employability, there is no room for under-skilled labor. Moreover, globalization has made it impossible to neglect certain skills (section 1) – this includes communication skills, at least minimum knowledge of how to use of technology, and so on. Therefore most organizations focus on training their employees on improving such skills. For instance, many workshops are conducted to train people on how to use technology for personal development. These include formal and informal learning as enabled by technology. Some other methods of improving up-skilling may just point to the resources available, which need to be used by the people for self-learning (Beller, 1998). On a larger scale, countries and states have been taking initiatives to educate their citizens and put them on par with the global standards. For example, community education workshops and workplace technology centers have proved to be helpful in improving the process of up-skilling. Further, many technology centers have been opened exclusively to help the disabled. (section 2) The key to consistency and overall development is lifelong learning. According to Mason, (2001, p. 11), despite the improvements that technology has made to lifelong learning the process of up-skilling technologically can be enhanced in many different ways, one of which is the presence of community education programmes. These are non-credit programmes that are available to all people of any age or social group. Community education does not require the finance and time investment that a whole higher education program demands. (Section 2/3)
Countries have been adopting social learning to maintain their economic edge worldwide. They have been focusing on the communities which have the most need of motivation. Therefore, communities where minorities live are one of the most affected parts of the countries by this agenda. Also, poor communities are being targeted by this kind of education. Most of the people in these parts of countries lack motivation to use their skills to the maximum extent possible. Moreover, they lack interest in working hard to push their countries forward. Therefore, governments have been focusing on creating pride in people's hearts about their countries and their work place. (minorities) This is not for social purposes but for economical reasons. Motivated citizens, who work hard, are assets to the nation, and help in improving the country’s economy. The recent focus on technological education plays a big part of the global interest in the citizens’ skills and education. The higher a certain community ranks in education and higher the standard of its people's skills, the country holds a bigger economic edge over other countries. The power of a country’s economy is tied to its people's motivation to work hard to reach goals. Therefore countries do not hesitate to invest on this purpose of educating its people on the importance of technology, and teaching them to use it. One example of using technology for education is taking online courses to up-skill in technology. People can learn in their own time and in their own homes, which carries a number of advantages to those with neither the time nor money to attend regular school. According to Green, (1999, p.15), these initiatives can include community consultation and training to increase the skill sets of disenfranchised blacks and Latinos, thus increasing the quality of the workforce in America. The skills and knowledge they would acquire due to easily-accessible, high-quality education would allow them to qualify for jobs they would not be able to get otherwise.
Para 3 (deals fully with how technology can help disabled to up-skill)
Technology also permits those with physical disabilities to improve their knowledge and bring about lifelong learning. It empowers the disabled to get closer to their dreams, and learn with the same opportunities that normal people enjoy. For instance, mobile technologies can be used to facilitate lifelong learning wherever a learner may be (Sharples, 2000, pp. 177-178). Multimedia training outlets also permit disabled workers to have access to high-quality education from wherever is most comfortable for them; remote and distance education allows them to attend class and gain knowledge about technology. The R.I.X. Center, for example, opened in 2004 to allow people with physical and intellectual disabilities to train in new media, digital photography and designing of social networking sites. Social networking and web development jobs also create a whole new industry of skill-intensive jobs that permit those with physical disabilities to find gainful employment and promote their own sense of competitiveness in the marketplace. There are also other sensor based technologies which help the disabled go about learning in an easier way. For instance, gesture based recognition for the deaf and dumb; head movement based recognition for the paralyzed, and so on are the latest innovations to help the disabled. These are fast growing technologies which promise a better future for them. Countries that are willing to invest towards the research of such technologies are bound to benefit in the long run. By making use of such research and other innovations, technology can be effectively utilized for up-skilling in disabled persons. Once the initial training part is complete, and people get used to technology as a way of life, progress can be made very quickly.
Beller, M., &Or, E. (1998). The Crossroads between Lifelong Learning and Information
Technology A Challenge Facing Leading Universities. Journal of Computer‐Mediated Communication, 4(2), 0-0.
Green, K. C. (1999). When wishes come true: Colleges and the convergence of access, lifelong learning, and technology. Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, 31(2), 10-15.
Mason, R. (1998). Models of online courses. ALN magazine, 2(2), 1-10.
Sharples, M. (2000). The design of personal mobile technologies for lifelong
learning. Computers & Education, 34(3), 177-193.