Reporter 459, 20 November 2000

Lifelong learning centre is launched

A new research and postgraduate teaching institute dedicated to lifelong learning has been launched by the School of Continuing Education. The centre, with more than 40 members, aims to contribute to knowledge and influence policy and practice regionally, nationally and internationally.

Institute director Professor Phil Hodkinson said: "Learning on formal courses is important, but so is non-formal learning. This includes learning from reading, the internet, TV programmes, conversations and working with others.

"The big question is how it can be enhanced, especially for those whose current learning experiences are impoverished."

The institute will advance lifelong learning for individuals, organisations and communities in the UK and overseas. It pulls together expertise from different academic disciplines and from policy makers and practitioners, and will promote partnerships between researchers and others whilst retaining the independence to criticise policies and practices.

It will conduct research, run taught courses for full and part-time students, provide opportunities for research degree work, and organise seminars, workshops and conferences.

Members include University academics, postgraduate students, and external individuals and organisations active in lifelong learning. Their activities range from adult and continuing education to learning in the workplace. Themes will include education and training policy issues, widening access and the application of computer technology.

Friday’s launch event was addressed by Leeds Central MP Hilary Benn, along with Professor Hodkinson and the University’s Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Professor Chris Taylor.

"Most adults earn no recognition for what they learn after their formal education," Professor Hodkinson added.

"Lifelong learning is a fashionable idea, but we need to find out more about how it occurs, in what ways it can beneficial and to whom, and what can be done to promote, enhance and extend it."

See the press release, issued on 15 November and the home page of the institute

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