Model of Lifelong Learning Participation: Perspectives from Insiders

By Siew Kheng Ng.

Published by The Learner Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

In 2002, twenty-three people won a nation-wide contest organised by Singapore’s national radio company to become its pioneer group of lifelong learner award winners. All of them were chosen on the basis that they had overcome economic, social and psychological odds to engage in lifelong learning. Thirteen of them volunteered for this study. Using grounded theory methodology to analyse data collected through in-depth interviews, a model illustrating lifelong learning participation from the perspectives of the insiders (the learners) was derived from the emergent common themes. The model provided by the insider perspective is richer than one which only identifies instumental reasons. It shows that although utilitarian reasons usually accounted for the initial decision to engage in post-school learning, lifelong learning took place as a result of the development of learning careers and through the strengthening of learner identities, as well as the development of learning dispositions. The findings further testify to the need for a more holistic approach to lifelong learning.

Keywords: Lifelong Learning, Adult Learning, Motivation, Grounded Theory, Insider Perspective, Learning Career, Learner Identities, Holistic Approach

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 15, Issue 9, pp.247-256. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 655.597KB).

Dr. Siew Kheng Ng


Dr. Ng worked as a Pre-University Economics lecturer for about twenty years in Singapore. Subsequently, she worked as an adjunct lecturer in a polytechnic for a few years before deciding to undertake a doctoral course at Durham University, UK. The EdD course included coursework on Analysing, Interpreting and Using Educational Research, Lifelong Learning, Management, Leadership and Change in Education, Motivation, Challenge and Achievement, Intercultural Studies in Education and Policy Sudies. As partial fulfilment of the requirements for her doctoral degree, she submitted a thesis entitled An Insider Perspective of Lifelong Learning in Singapore: Beyond the Economic Perspective. She successfully defended her thesis in April 2007.


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