Publications | 02 Dec, 2021

Working Paper 5: Rethinking lifelong learning in the ‘fourth industrial revolution’

David James

Sahara Sadik
Deputy Programme Director

Phillip Brown
Programme Director

Two key discourses of our time, lifelong learning (LLL) and the fourth industrial revolution (4IR), have been inextricably linked to offer a compelling narrative of the coupling of education models and technological change to enable individual empowerment, social inclusion and a shared prosperity. This article takes an analytical view, examining the development and use of each concept and identifying how they have come to be brought together. We suggest that despite fundamental flaws, the 4IR has given a new impetus to ideas about lifelong learning that are broader than the individual employment-focused conceptualisation that has dominated in recent times.  We then offer a discussion of the nature a progressive conceptualisation of lifelong learning which might respond in a more authentic and realistic way to key changes in the nature of work, life, social and economic activity and indeed more fundamental issues for humanity.  


Working Paper 5 by David James, Sahara Sadik and Phillip Brown. Download full working paper here.

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