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«Lifelong Learning Ñ More Than Training Gerhard Fischer Center for LifeLong Learning & Design (L3D) Department of Computer Science and Institute of ...»

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Paper to Appear in a Special Issue on "Intelligent Systems/Tools In Training And Life-Long

Learning" in the International Journal of Continuing Engineering Education and Life-Long

Learning (eds.: Riichiro Mizoguchi and Piet A.M. Kommers)

Lifelong Learning Ñ More Than Training

Gerhard Fischer

Center for LifeLong Learning & Design (L3D)

Department of Computer Science and Institute of Cognitive Science

University of Colorado, Boulder

1. INTRODUCTION 3

2. PROBLEMS IN THE INFORMATION AGE 4

3. TRAINING AND LIFELONG LEARNING 5

3.1. Training 6

3.2. Lifelong Learning 7

4. ENVIRONMENTS IN SUPPORT OF LIFELONG LEARNING 9

4.1. Requirements 9

4.2. Modes of Learning 11

4.3. Domain-Oriented Design Environments 12

4.4. Critiquing 13

4.5. The Envisionment and Discovery Collaboratory (EDC) 14

4.6. Working Shops — An Environment for Teachers to Engage in Lifelong Learning 16

5. ASSESSMENT 17

5.1. Lifelong Learning — More Than Training 17

5.2. Beyond Gift-Wrapping: Innovative Media and Technologies Supporting Lifelong Learning 18 Gerhard Fischer 1 Training and LLL

6. CONCLUSIONS 19

7. REFERENCES 20 Figure 1: Emphasis on Training versus Emphasis on Lifelong Learning___________________________ 6 Figure 2: Transcending Skinner and Taylor __________________________________________________ 7 Figure 3: A Comparison of Different Conceptualizations of Training and Lifelong Learning ___________ 8 Figure 4: Design and Use Time __________________________________________________________ 10 Figure 5: Duality between Learning and Contributing ________________________________________ 11 Figure 6: The Relationships Among Intelligent Tutoring Systems, Interactive Learning Environments, and Domain-Oriented Design Environments________________________________________________ 12 Figure 7: The EDC Environment_________________________________________________________ 15 Gerhard Fischer 2 Training and LLL Abstract Wisdom is not a product of schooling, but the lifelong attempt to acquire it.Ó Ñ Einstein Learning can no longer be dichotomized into a place and time to acquire knowledge (school) and a place and time to apply knowledge (the workplace). TodayÕs citizens are flooded with more information than they can handle, and tomorrowÕs workers will need to know far more than any individual can retain.

Lifelong learning is an essential challenge for inventing the future of our societies; it is a necessity rather than a possibility or a luxury to be considered. Lifelong learning is more than adult education and/or training Ñ it is a mindset and a habit for people to acquire. Lifelong learning creates the challenge to understand, explore, and support new essential dimensions of learning such as: (1) self-directed learning, (2) learning on demand, (3) collaborative learning, and (4) organizational learning. These approaches need new media and innovative technologies to be adequately supported.

A theory of lifelong learning must investigate new frameworks to learning required by the profound and accelerating changes in the nature of work and education. These changes include (1) an increasing prevalence of Òhigh-technologyÓ jobs requiring support for learning on demand because coverage of all concepts is impossible; (2) the inevitability of change in the course of a professional lifetime, which necessitates lifelong learning; and (3) the deepening (and disquieting) division between the opportunities offered to the educated and to the uneducated.

This paper explores conceptual frameworks and innovative computational environments to support lifelong learning and it analyzes why training approaches need to be transcended and how this can be done.

1. Introduction Learning needs to be examined across the lifespan because previous notions of a divided lifetimeÑeducation followed by workÑare no longer tenable [Gardner, 1991]. Professional activity has become so knowledge-intensive and fluid in content that learning has become an integral and irremovable part of adult work activities. Learning is a new form of labor [Zuboff, 1988], and working is often (and needs to be) a collaborative effort among colleagues and peers.

In the emerging knowledge society, an educated person will be someone who is willing to consider learning as a lifelong process. More and more knowledge, especially advanced knowledge, is acquired well past the age of formal schooling, and in many situations through educational processes that do not center on the traditional school [Illich, 1971].

Information overload, the advent of high-functionality systems, and a climate of rapid technological change have created new problems and challenges for education and training.

New instructional approaches are needed to circumvent the difficult problems of coverage (i.e., trying to teach people everything that they may need to know in the future) and obsolescence (i.e., trying to predict what specific knowledge someone will need or not need in the future).

Learning should be part of living, a natural consequence of being alive and in touch with the world, and not a process separate from the rest of life [Rogoff & Lave, 1984]. What learners need, therefore, is not only instruction but access to the world (in order to connect the knowledge in their head with the knowledge in the world [Norman, 1993]) and a chance to play a meaningful part in it. Education should be a distributed lifelong process by which one learns material as one needs it. School learning and workplace learning need to be integrated.





In training, learning is often restricted to the solution of well-defined problems. Lifelong learning includes training approaches and also transcends them by supporting learning in the context of realistic, open-ended, ill-defined problems. In our environments, learners explore information spaces relevant to a self-chosen task at hand; for example: learning on demand Gerhard Fischer 3 Training and LLL provides learner-centered alternatives to teacher-centered tutoring systems, and it augments open-ended, unsupported learning environments by providing advice, assistance, and guidance if needed in breakdown situations.

In this paper I first characterize problems facing workers and learners in the information society. I characterize and differentiate training and lifelong learning approaches. In the remaining part of the paper I focus on lifelong learning by first describing requirements and different approaches to it. Some examples of our work will be used to illustrate innovative systems supporting lifelong learning. I conclude by assessing these approaches and their systems and tools identifying their strengths and weaknesses.

2. Problems in the Information Age Lack of creativity and innovation. Societies and countries of the future will be successful not Òbecause their people work harder, but because they work smarterÓ. Creativity and innovation are considered essential capabilities for working smarter in knowledge societies [Drucker, 1994];

thus an important challenge is how these capabilities can be learned and practiced. An implicit assumption made is that self-directed and lifelong learning can influence the creativity and innovation potential of individuals, groups, organizations, and countries.

Coping with change. Most people see schooling as a period of their lives that prepares them for work in a profession or for a change of career. This view has not enabled people to cope well with the following situations: (1) most people change careers 3-4 times in their lives even though what they learned in school was designed to prepare them for their first career; (2) the pace of change is so fast that technologies and skills to use them become obsolete within 5-10 years; (3) university graduates are not well prepared for work; (4) companies have trouble institutionalizing what has been learned (e.g., in the form of organizational memories) so that the departure of particular employees does not disable the companiesÕ capabilities; and (5) although employers and workers alike realize that they must learn new things, they often don't feel they have the time to do so.

Information is not a scarce resource. ÒDumpingÓ even more decontextualized information on people is not a step forward in a world where most of us already suffer from too much information. Instead, technology should provide ways to Òsay the ÔrightÕ thing at the ÔrightÕ time in the ÔrightÕ way.Ó Information consumes human attention, so a wealth of information creates a poverty of human attention.

ÒEase of useÓ is not the greatest challenge or the most desirable goal for new technologies.

Usable technologies that are not useful for the needs and concerns of people are of no value.

Rather than assuming people should and will be able to do everything without a substantial learning effort, we should design computational environments that provide a low threshold for getting started and a high ceiling to allow skilled users to do the things they want to do.

Computers by themselves will not change education. There is no empirical evidence for this assumption based on the last 30 years of using computers to change education (such as computerassisted instruction, computer-based training, or intelligent tutoring systems). Technology is no ÒDeus ex machinaÓ taking care of education. Instructionist approaches are not changed by the fact that information is disseminated by an intelligent tutoring system. The content, value, and quality of information and knowledge are not improved just because information is offered in multimedia or over the WWW. Media itself does not turn irrelevant or erroneous information into more relevant information.

The single or most important objective of computational media is not reducing the cost of education. Although we should not ignore any opportunity to use technology to lessen the cost of

education, we should not lose sight of an objective that is of equal if not greater importance:

increasing the quality of education.

Gerhard Fischer 4 Training and LLL The Ôsuper-couch potatoÕ consumers should not be the targets for the educated and informed citizens of the future. The major innovation that many powerful interest groups push with the information superhighway is to have a future in which people show their creativity and engagement by selecting one of at least 500 TV channels with a remote control. The major technical challenge derived from this perspective becomes the design of a Òuser-friendlyÓ remote control. Rather than serving as the Òreproductive organ of a consumer societyÓ [Illich, 1971], educational institutions must fight this trend by cultivating Òdesigners,Ó that is by creating mindsets and habits that help people become empowered and willing to actively contribute to the design of their lives and communities [Fischer, 1998a].

School-to-work transition is insufficiently supported. If the world of working and living (1) relies on collaboration, creativity, definition, and framing of problems; (2) deals with uncertainty, change, and distributed cognition; and (3) augments and empowers humans with powerful technological tools, then the world of schools and universities needs to prepare students to function in this world. Industrial-age models of education and work are inadequate to prepare students to compete in the knowledge-based workplace. A major objective of a lifelong learning approach is to reduce the gap between school and workplace learning.

The ÒGift WrappingÓ approach dominates educational reform. Information technologies have been used to mechanize old ways of doing business [Landauer, 1995] Ñ rather than fundamentally rethinking the underlying work processes and promoting new ways to create artifacts and knowledge. In learning, these technologies have been used primarily as add-ons to existing practices [Fischer, 1998c] rather than a catalyst for fundamentally rethinking what education should be about in the next century. Frameworks, such as instructionism, fixed and ÒbalkanizedÓ curricula, memorization, decontextualized rote learning, etc., are not changed by technology itself. We cannot prepare people to live in a twenty-first century world using nineteenth century technology.

Quality employment. The current dislocation problem experienced by workers [Rifkin, 1995] is one example of an increasingly societal trend. Workers in the growing service and information sector will face an accelerating rate of change in the knowledge and skills necessary to stay competitive. Traditional paradigms of education and training will not, in themselves, be sufficient to meet this increasingly important need. Additional infrastructure must be developed that allows people to learn on the job, and knowledgeable experts to communicate and extend their knowledge within and across domains.

3. Training and Lifelong Learning Lifelong learning is more than training or continuing education. It must support multiple learning opportunities including exploring conceptual understanding as well as narrowing to practical application of knowledge, ranging over different settings such as academic education, informal lifelong learning, and professional and industrial training. Figure 1 summarizes the different emphases of training and lifelong learning along a number of dimensions.

–  –  –

Figure 1: Emphasis on Training versus Emphasis on Lifelong Learning 3.1. Training Learning new skills and acquiring new knowledge cannot be restricted to formal educational settings. Effective learning needs to be integrated into the work process. Current teaching programs train people to use what is effectively a snapshot of an evolving technology. Training is often considered as a variable plugged into an economic model. This short-sighted cycle of training and retraining cannot be broken unless we recognize that learning is a lifelong process that cannot be separated from working [Sachs, 1995].



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