Learning is Lifelong
The fast paced innovations in science and technology require people to learn to adapt quickly to novelties. This implies a lifelong learning process. The time that one left school with the right knowledge and skill set for a long and prosperous career is long gone. Now, school is more about graduating and immediately starting to go on further training. Platforms for lifelong learning will continue to become more important. This can take place in a school building, but also online through a specially constructed learning environment. When lifelong learning is integrated into an existing school, the latter must adapt to an different audience. Adults, for instance, have different expectations than children or young people.
Age 0-5 years: During this age group, a lot of learning takes place and it provides very important insight into learning as a foundation for future learning habits and resourcefulness. This is probably the age with the highest amount of informal learning as children imitate almost everything from parents, peers and their environment. Psychologists such as Sigmund Freud and other behavioral psychologists also show the importance of childhood learning and to them this stage affects all the other learning abilities later in life. Today in parts of Africa and the world over some children begin school as early as two years old, this also creates a base for appreciating formal and institutionalized learning.
Age 6-24 years: Learning of the 6 – 24 age group primarily takes place in educational institutions, from primary and secondary to tertiary levels. Family life, social organizations, religious institutions, and mass media can also play a role in nonformal and informal learning during this time. The objective of learning in this period is the holistic development of learners in four aspects, namely: physical, intellectual, social capacity, emotional and mental development.
Age 25-60 years: The 25 – 60 age group continues to learn through the working years. They learn informally through the use of instructional media, mostly from their occupations, workplaces, colleagues, touring, mass media, information technologies, environment and nature. Adults learn from experiences and problem solving. They therefore need continuous development of intellect, capability and integrity.
Learning in the 60+ years: In their senior years people may seek new knowledge for its' own sake. This could be termed autoandragogy, an adult who instructs him/ herself. The challenge of seeking new knowledge and teaching themselves may result in a sense of pride of accomplishment and help maintain self-esteem. This may further be enhanced by offering their new knowledge in service to their local community thus continuing to make valued contributions to society.