Title

Lifelong learning: Established concepts and evolving values

Document Type

Article

Department

Urology

Abstract

Objective

To summarise the concepts critical for understanding the content and value of lifelong learning (LL).

Methods

Ideas generated by personal experience were combined with those of philosophers, social scientists, educational institutions, governments and UNESCO, to facilitate an understanding of the importance of the basic concepts of LL.

Results

Autopoietic, continuous, self-determined, informal, vicarious, biographical, lifelong reflexive learning, from and for society, when supported by self-chosen formal courses, can build capacities and portable skills that allow useful responses to challenges and society’s new structures of governance. The need for LL is driven by challenges. LL flows continuously in pursuit of one agenda, which could either be citizenship, as is conventional, or as this article proposes, health. LL cannot be wholly centred on vocation. Continuous medical education and continuous professional development, important in their own right, cannot supply all that is needed. LL aids society with its learning, and it requires an awareness of the environment and structures of society. It is heavily vicarious, draws on formal learning and relies for effectiveness on reflection, self-assessment and personal shaping of views of the world from different perspectives.

Conclusion

Health is critical to rational thought and peace, and determines society’s capacity to govern itself, and improve its health. LL should be reshaped to focus on health not citizenship. Therefore, embedding learning in society and environment is critical. Each urologist must develop an understanding of the numerous concepts in LL, of which ‘biographicisation’ is the seed that will promote innovative strategies.

Publication

Arab Journal of Urology