Human lifecycle development and the experiential learning foundations of an integrated lifelong education framework
Richards, C 2018, 'Human lifecycle development and the experiential learning foundations of an integrated lifelong education framework', Journal of Adult & Continuing Education, vol. 24, no. 2, pp. 250-271.
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Many educators interested in notions of ‘learning through or from experience’ are influenced by Kolb’s basic model of experiential learning. Yet as a set of stages, the model involves a dilemma acknowledged by Kolb himself that it can proceed from either concrete experience or abstract conceptualisation. The paper builds on Kolb’s insights about a possible solution to this dilemma in terms of how experiential learning is in some respects synonymous with but otherwise a more specific version of Alan Rogers’ concept of informal lifelong education. On this basis, it adapts a ‘lifecycle’ perspective on how the direct or micro ‘here and now’ opportunities for constructive experiential learning ever potentially inform the larger or macro concept of lifelong learning – one also linked to the different formal modes as well as stages of education from schooling for youth through to adult education and later life learning. The paper further links various related lifelong learning challenges of harnessing direct life experience to the larger challenge of a typical knowledge-experience disconnect in modern formal education as well as society. Such a disconnect is exemplified by how lifelong informal learning often seems futile (and a lifetime of experience increasingly meaningless) in the face of the modern ‘work-retirement-death’ narrative still influential in a fast-changing and uncertain world.