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Foster employability and fight social exclusion through the development of lifelong learning (LLL) key-competences: reviewing twenty years of LLL policies

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Abstract

Purpose This study aims to provide an overview of the past two decades of lifelong learning (LLL) policies for enhancing employability and reduce social exclusion in young people of European countries through the development of the so-called LLL key-competences. Design/methodology/approach Built on a quasi-systematic review, this contribution explores traditional and new methods for promoting the LLL transition, and then employability, in young adults (e.g. apprenticeship, vocational training, e-learning, etc.). Findings It argues the need to identify all the possible approaches able to support policymakers, as they can differently impact key-competence development. Originality/value Finally, based on the consolidated EU policy experience, we propose a strategy of implementation of the LLL programmes that facilitates the institutions’ decision processes for policy-making through the use of decisional support system.
Foster employability and ght
social exclusion through the
development of lifelong learning
(LLL) key-competences: reviewing
twenty years of LLL policies
Andrea Ceschi,Marco Perini,Andrea Scalco,Monica Pentassuglia,
Elisa Righetti and Beniamino Caputo
Department of Human Sciences, University of Verona, Verona, Italy
Abstract
Purpose This study aims to provide an overview of the past two decades of lifelong learning (LLL)
policies for enhancing employability and reduce social exclusion in young people of European countries
through the development of the so-called LLL key-competences.
Design/methodology/approach Built on a quasi-systematic review, this contribution explores
traditional and new methods for promoting the LLL transition, and then employability, in young adults (e.g.
apprenticeship, vocational training, e-learning, etc.).
Findings It argues the need to identify all the possible approaches able to support policymakers, as they
can differently impact key-competence development.
Originality/value Finally, based on the consolidated EU policy experience, we propose a strategy of
implementation of the LLL programmes that facilitates the institutionsdecision processes for policy-making
through the use of decisional support system.
Keywords Employability, Decision support system, Lifelong learning, Key-competences
Paper type Literature review
1. Introduction
1.1 Fostering employability through the development of lifelong learning key-competences
A wide range of aspects revolves around employability, a concept used by Hillage and Pollard
(1998) to indicate those capabilities necessary to ndandretainajobandobtainanewonewhen
needed (Ceschi et al.,2017). Indeed, several factors can impact on employability. First, the context
interpreted as the current trends in the market labour but also some individual difference traits,
which can have an impact on the individual employability since they have been for a long time
assessed for predicting workerssuccess at the early stage of their career (Sartori et al., 2016a;
Sartori et al., 2016b;Sartori et al., 2017). On the other hand, about employability, great emphasis is
usually assigned to the role of competences that can be acquired, developed and transferred in a
constant manner throughout the all stages of life, namely, key-competences for LLL or just key-
competences. Key-competences have been associated over the years with several denitions
(Elbers, 1991;Mulder, 2007;McClelland, 1973), as afrmed by Velde (2001,p.1):
[...] there is both a concern about the meaning of competence and how it is interpreted in the
workplace, and the demand for competence in the workplace, for dierent kinds of worker key
competence, for more opportunities to become competent, and for it to be sustained and nourished
in a lifelong learning way.
Reviewing
twenty years
of LLL policies
Received 24 July2019
Revised 8 April 2020
4June2020
22 July 2020
12 August 2020
Accepted 14 August2020
European Journal of Training and
Development
© Emerald Publishing Limited
2046-9012
DOI 10.1108/EJTD-07-2019-0126
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:
https://www.emerald.com/insight/2046-9012.htm
Indeed, several attempts have been proposed over the years to dene but also distinguish,
competences for LLL. For instance, Sloane (2011) suggested distinguishing
key-competences between hard and soft skills: while the former set relates to technical
competences and it is highly dependent on task, the latter ones identify interpersonal
competences that can be applied across different activities and developed across the
lifespan. Similarly, Billett (2009) argued that LLL key-competences could be understood
from two different points of views: the social and personal perspectives, and to evaluate
the workersuccess, both of these perspectives must be considered since these
competences comprise a set of knowledge, abilities and attitudes that allow a person to be
competent in the workplace, as well as in everyday life (Sartori et al., 2018). In this sense,
key-competences correspond to antecedents the concept of employability assets proposed
by Hillage and Pollard (1998).
Lifelong learning key-competences are also recognized as factors of innovation, which
are strongly linked with training and development processes oriented to foster
employability (Sartori et al., 2013). As afrmed by Sartori et al. (2018,p.2)these
competences are a key concept within the perspective of both lifelong learning and change
management, in which on the one hand, competence-based training paths have been
investigated to facilitate the development of employability in specic environments, and on
the other hand, they have actually considered the antecedents for building-up LLL processes
which does not limit only to the work dimension (Velde, 2001). Indeed, the Recommendation
2006/962/EC of the European Council (European Parliament and Council of the European
Union, 2006) on key-competences for LLL identies eight of them that are considered crucial
for individuals in a lifelong knowledge-based society, i.e. communicating in a mother
tongue, communicating in a foreign language, mathematical, scientic and technological
competence, digital competence, learning to learn, social and civic competences, sense of
initiative and entrepreneurship; cultural awareness and expression. The aim of this
taxonomy of key-competences is to create a frequent basis for European LLL policies and
the exchange of good educational and vocational training practices around Europe. This is
also considered a call for educational and vocational systems not only to facilitate
employability but also to enhance LLL policies oriented to ght social exclusion, especially
among the young population.
1.2 Not only employability, lifelong learning for tackling social exclusion
Lifelong learning is a process through which individuals acquire information, knowledge and
competencies in a range of formal and informal settings, throughout life (Sartori and Tacconi,
2017). It may occur as part of schooling, education, training, personal development
(Brookeld, 1986) or workplace-based learning (Billett, 2011), and applies to people working
in organizations, vocational teachers and trainers included (Mulder et al.,2007;Sartori et al.,
2015). Lifelong learning is considered to be an appropriate response to changes (Gibbs et al.,
2007) and a key lever for resilience, adaptation and development (Smidt and Sursock, 2011)of
both individuals and organizations (Roland, 2010). It has been argued that it can represent the
means by which people go on acquiring such LLL key-competences (Garavan et al.,2002),
gain expertise (Jarvis, 2009), adapt to different job market conditions (International Labour
Organization, 2000) and develop employability while growing up (Commission of the
European Communities, 2007). Lifelong learning represents the cornerstone of the learning
society described by Frank Cofeld (2000,p.5)[...] in which all citizens acquire a high-
quality general education, appropriate vocational training and a job [...] while continuing to
participate in education and training throughout their lives. That is, LLL is a theoretical and
practical concept that refers to the fact that it is both possible and necessary for human
EJTD
beings to keep on getting information, knowledge and learn those LLL key-competences for
professional purposes (Sartori et al.,2018).
On the other hand, professional purposes are not the only outcome of LLL policies; the
LLL perspective has also been conceptualized within a political framework, which focuses
on the role and the function of knowledge and learning to enhance the cohesion of societies.
European policies, in this sense, are intended to support LLL as a factor underlying the
development of practical institutional actions aiming at fostering social participation
(Lodigiani, 2008). As a result, in many European countries, LLL policies have been
developed to improve the integration of young people at the risk of social and work
exclusion (Bynner and Parsons, 2002). Lifelong learning policies can be dened, as well as a
guide to actions taken by institutions to foster LLL in a manner consistent with local laws
and social customs. Their purpose is to disseminate the relevance of LLL in the specic
context where young adults live, contextualizing it in accordance with their developable
competences and social barriers they face to be included in society.
1.3 Reach out to European young adults at risk of work and social exclusion; the challenge of
lifelong learning policies
In light of the above considerations, at the individual level, LLL policies aim to enable young
adults to identify and develop those key-competences necessary to nd, retain and progress
in employment: that is, to improve their employability. In the past two decades, the
development of LLL policies resulted in a diversied market conguration for adult
education throughout Europe, which is expected to increase further. The continuous
acquisition of key-competences is perceived determinant for professional success and career
for two main reasons. First, the expected growth of the adult education market has resulted
in the need to develop a systematic analysis of education policies linking it to forecasts for
the demand of work skills in the future. Secondly, referring to the Strategic objective 1
Making lifelong learning and mobility a realityof EU Council (2009/C 119/02), a signicant
issue related to LLL is the idea of social justice. Limited learning opportunities and the
inequitable access to the training system provide a broader social exclusion of many groups
of young people (Gorard and Rees, 2002). Success, in this context, is understood as those
policies that show the improvement of learning outcomes, particularly those reaching out to
young adults at risk of social exclusion and other vulnerable groups.
Following this framework, as well as the EU Council Resolution on a renewed European
agenda for LLL adult learning (2011), new policies are going to be developed over the
Horizon 2020 programme [1], with the aim to encourage higher education institutions to
embrace adult learners asa means of displaying social responsibility and a greater openness
towards the community at large. The overarching objective of these new policies is the
improvement of the above key-competences related to adult education in general, and young
adults and vulnerable groups in particular, focusing on the area of integration between LLL
programmes and higher employability. In this context, previous successful policies, both
traditional and innovative, that reached out to young adults at risk of work and social
exclusion, have been rst identied with the present literature review. Next, we will focus on
the outcomes and effects of such policies above briey presented (i.e. strategic LLL key-
competences development, employability, challenging social exclusion). While analyzing
why, for which target group, and in which national and regional section these programmes
could be successful, by using a new technological decision support system (DSS), will be
nally discussed as a possible practical solution applied to the present review.
Reviewing
twenty years
of LLL policies
1.4 Methodology
This article aims to identify LLL policies approaches that can guide the choices of
policymakers regarding policies for enhancing the employability in young people and
reduce risks of social exclusion. The initial assumption (discussed in the rst part of the
article) is that the key-competences promote by LLL correspond to antecedents of the
concept of employability and to improve LLL policies means enhancing the employability of
young adults in Europe to ght phenomena of social exclusion.
The paper is built on a quasi-systematic review of the approaches to LLL policies present
in the literature of the last twenty years, and the identied methodology is divided into three
phases. Phase 1: longitudinal analysis using semantic search by keywords (e.g. lifelong
learning policy; LLL policy; lifelong-learning policy [...]) present in the following DBs such
as Scopus, PubMed, Embase and Psychinfo. The inclusion criteria included all the published
articles about lifelong learning policies (years 19982018) involving original article written
in English with qualitative and quantitative approaches, review literature and mixed-
method study. The exclusion criteria included articles by unknown authors, review sections
of books, and articles written in a language other than English. This result in 109 articles
extracted. Phase 2: Mapping of the analysis results (Peersman, 1996) and selection of the
most representative research on LLL policies in European countries based on the following
analysis units:
the orientation of LLL policies and related professional practices;
criticism of the effects of LLL policies; and
programmes for the implementation of LLL policies.
After such a review, 87 articles were selected for the assessment of the next phase. Phase 3:
Elaboration of the summary map with a focus on the objectives and results of the research.
Such a quality assessment was conducted by two reviewers, andit was mainly based on the
relevancy and validity of studies. Articles were carefully examined and selected by one of
the two authors. Finally, 50 articles were included, and the most important points were
extracted and summarized in a table (Table 1). Based on a thematic content analysis, articles
were discussed next in a narrative form in line with the research goal.
2. Literature review
2.1 Reviewing twenty years of lifelong learning policies in Europe
Despite the term, LLL has an extensive practice in contexts, and its meaning is often not
very clear (Clain, 2016), each country has its own denition and, consequently, its own LLL
policies. Although there are some denitions of LLL (TeAchnology, 2010;Evaluate IT, 2004;
Tempus, 2002;Idahoe-Campus, 2009), we can consider LLL as training that:
[...] should take place at all stages of the life cycle (from the cradle to the grave) and, in more
recent versions, that it should be life-wide; that is embedded in all life contexts from the school to
the workplace, the home and the community (Laal, 2011, p. 471).
The idea of LLL rst appeared in the 1970s, to promote social equality. At rst, within a
humanistic tradition, the rst LLL policies were advocated as a model for developing a
better society and quality of life that would allow people to adapt better to changes. Shifting
from an idealistic to a pragmatical perspective, starting from the 1980sa climate featured by
young unemployment, declining productivity and increasing public decits, raised in
Europe (Rubenson, 2006). In such times, LLL policies became a solution for those
dissatised with their employment to enhance employability levels. Towards the end of the
EJTD
Authors
Year Country Aim Method Discussion Results Keywords
Ferrari et al.
(2018)
IT This research study addresses how access to
information and the development of digital
skills mitigated aspects of social exclusion
and triggered more active participation in the
life of the community. The project team
observed the process of digitalization as it
affected administrators, teachers, parents, and
students over four years
Data in the form of structured observations,
meeting and interview transcripts, and actual
usage rates were collected, categorized, and
eventually sorted into three main categories:
administrative promotion of inclusion; school
investment inequitable access to digital
resources; and capacity-building among
stakeholders
Analysis of the data supported the ideas
that digital forms of participation are
particularly valuable for people at risk of
exclusion in communities; consistent with
European Union [EU] policies, education
and particularly its digital form is a
valuable key to civic inclusion; and efforts
at educational digitalization must be long-
term and intentional to be sustainable
Inclusive citizenship; school digital
district; digital inclusion; Inclusive
education; capacity building; lifelong
learning
Mystakidis
et al. (2018)
GR, FI The University of Patras has launched a
project for the provision of short, accessible,
certied distance life-long learning
programmes. The main pillars of this
project are Excellence, Specialized
Personalized Training at cutting-edge
subjects, Quality, Deep Learning and
Innovation. The research study was
conducted using an online questionnaire
and aimed at estimating the level of
participants satisfaction using interactive
learning methods such as collaborative
learning. The formative evaluation process
was conducted by external assessors based
on context, input, process, product
approach. The evaluation instruments were
The results of the study suggest that the
project led to the rapid provision of e-
learning programmes that used successfully
active learning methods to achieve high
learner satisfaction and address training
needs and skills gaps. Evaluation and data
analysis from completed e-Learning courses
revealed that the University of Patras
blended quality strategy had an overall
positive effect
e-learning; distance education; blended
learning; technology enhanced learning;
life-long learning; deep learning
(continued)
Table 1.
The present quasi-
systematic review is
based on a search
strategy performed
for the period 1998 to
2018 (August)
Reviewing
twenty years
of LLL policies
Authors
Year Country Aim Method Discussion Results Keywords
online questionnaires, structured and semi-
structured observation
Abel et al.
(2018)
SE The article considers the problem of how
best to use prior experience to bootstrap
LLL, where an agent faces a series of task
instances drawn from some task
distribution. First, it identies the initial
policy that optimizes expected performance
over the distribution of tasks for
increasingly complex classes of policy and
task distributions. It empirically
demonstrates the relative performance of
each policy classoptimal element in a
variety of simple task distributions. It then
considers value-function initialization
methods that preserve PAC guarantees
while simultaneously minimizing the
learning required in two learning
algorithms, yielding MAXQINIT, a practical
new method for value-function-based
transfer
The experiments explore the performance of
the jumpstart policies and showcase the
practicality of MAXQINIT for accelerating
algorithms in lifelong RL in simple domains.
Empirical and theoretical results show that
the practical and simple new method,
MAXQINIT, can lower the sample
complexity of lifelong learning via value-
function-based transfer
Life-long learning; policy transfer; value
transfer; life-long reinforcement learning
Galanis et al.
(2017)
ES This paper proposes a framework to gather,
enhance, organize, evaluate and showcase a
users informal learning using a social
approach to engage the learners to use the
system by providing valuable
recommendations, contacts and feedback
The paper summaries several guidelines for
validating and evaluating informal learning
experiences and formalizing their outcomes.
This especially, where technology has
brought together different cultures and
educational systems, managing to keep
track of a learners competences is a
daunting task, and when trying to take into
account, the competences acquired through
informal means
Informal learning; non-formal learning; e-
learning; e-learning; lifelong learning;
social learning; validation; evaluation
(continued)
Table 1.
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Authors
Year Country Aim Method Discussion Results Keywords
Pilkinton-
Pihko and
Suviniitty
(2017)
FI Living in learning societies has brought an
increased focus to LLL and educational
policies that support it. One such policy is
the recognition of prior learning (RPL). In
Finnish higher education, the most popular
procedure for RPL is a test. This raises the
question of how well this assessment
method serves its purpose
This analysis shows that the tasks in our
RPL test of English differ considerably from
those reported in our survey of RPL seekers.
This mismatch indicates that we should
either adopt an open, divergent assessment
method, such as a portfolio or change our
undergraduate English curricula for both
engineering and industrial design to better
align them with the working-life
communication tasks identied in this
study - if a closed, convergent assessment
method (such as a test) is preferred
Life-long learning; educational policies;
recognition of prior learning; RPL test
Pérez-Escoda,
A., et al. (2016)
ES This essay presents some of the results from
a broader research project on the digital
competences of primary school teachers and
students in Castile and Leon (Spain). The
main goal of the study is to evaluate digital
competence levels drawing on an earlier
study on the specic international
assessment of digital literacy and digital
skills
The comprehensive statistical analysis of
the results reects that both teachers and
students lack digital skills. This means that
teachers cannot make pedagogical use of
them so that teacher-Training policies in
this eld should be reconsidered. In
students, it reects the danger of a digital
gap that would not be brought about for
reasons of use or access but from lack of
training
Digital citizenship; digital competences;
teachers; students; education; information
and communication technologies
Irvine et al.
(2016)
NL, AT Sustainable river basin management
depends on knowledge, skills and education.
The DANCERS project set out to identify
feasible options for achieving education for
sustainable water management across the
Danube river basin, and its integration with
a broader education and economic
development
The DANCERS project identied key short
and medium-term needs for education and
research to support the progressive
adoption of sustainable development, and
the necessary dialogue across the public and
private sectors to align policies. These
include the development of new education
networks for masters and PhD programmes,
including joint programmes; improved
access to technical training and LLL
Sustainable development; integrated river
basin management; skill development; EU
policy
(continued)
Table 1.
Reviewing
twenty years
of LLL policies
Authors
Year Country Aim Method Discussion Results Keywords
programmes for skills development;
developing formalized and certied
competency structures and associated
accreditation of institutions
Hanemann
(2015)
DE This article discusses recent developments
in conceptualizing literacy as a foundation
of LLL. The authors of this paper seek to
replicate and extend his pioneering work,
using data from the National Child
Development Study (NCDS), a large-scale
survey containing information on all those
born in Britain in one week in 1958. Follow-
up data were collected at various points in
childhood and adulthood, most recently
when the cohort reached the age of 50, thus
enabling insights into long-term
developments
The authors analyze well-being at age 50 as
an outcome in structural equation models
(SEM). Results suggested a three-
dimensional analytical framework which
considers literacy as a lifelong and life-wide
learning process and as part of LLL
systems. The research draws a number of
conclusions for policy and practice of
literacy as a foundation of LLL. These
conclusions are a timely contribution to the
ongoing post-2015 education debate
Literacy; lifelong learning; adult learning;
post-2015 education agenda
Jenkins and
Wiggins
(2015)
UK The study presented in this article adopts a
life-course approach to participation in
learning and the potential benets of
learning. The authors concentrate on adult
education in mid-life, that is, between the
ages of 33 and 50, as the measure of
learning participation. The authors of this
paper seek to replicate and extend his
pioneering work, using data from the
National Child Development Study (NCDS),
a large-scale survey containing information
on all those born in Britain in one week in
1958. Follow-up data were collected at
various points in childhood and adulthood,
most recently when the cohort reached the
The authors analyse well-being at age 50 as
an outcome in. This approach helps to
understand the pathways through which
adult education has an impact on well-
being. The estimated models show how
adult education in mid-life has an inuence
on the type and quality of jobs which are
accessible to individuals, and how this, in
turn, can contribute to higher well-being at
age 50
Adult education; well-being;
qualications; mid-life; SEM
(continued)
Table 1.
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Authors
Year Country Aim Method Discussion Results Keywords
age of 50, thus enabling insights into long-
term developments
Bomba and
Zacharov
a
(2014)
SK The article deals with LLL of teachers in
Slovakia and the use of blended learning as
a means of increasing the teachers
qualication credit as employees. The
mainline of this article is tracking the LLL
of the Slovak teachers in the context of
neoliberalism and its inuence on education
with some implications for teachers
Results show how social and economic
changes in Slovakia after 1989 and after the
Velvet Revolution had their impacts on
education, on redening the functions of
school, on changing the nature of education,
school computerization and total
modernization but also on the decrease of
teacherssocial status and on changing the
school funding and long-term underfunding
of the Slovak educational system
Higher education; university; blended
learning; lifelong learning; neoliberal
governmentality; teacher; Slovak
education; Slovakia
Fonfara et al.
(2014)
DE The task is to learn a dialogue policy that
deals with changing user goals, can act
under uncertainty, and is easy to apply in
practice. Unlike reinforcement learning-
based systems, the proposed simulator-free
approach avoids common problems such as
reward tuning and state-space exploration.
Researchers apply imitation learning to
mimic an experts behaviour based on a
small number of Wizard-of-Oz experiments.
A dynamic Bayesian Network is used to
track hidden user goals
Results show that by using lifelong model
updates, it is possible to apply the experts
policy correctly even if the user behaviour
changes over time. However, the executed
policies strongly depend on teacher
demonstrations, depending on the
complexity of the task sufcient teacher
demonstrations have to be recorded to cover
all situations one wants to consider
Dialog system; imitation learning; lifelong
learning; cognitive robotics; bayesian
network
Sienkiewicz
and
Trawinska-
Konador
(2014)
PT The aim of the paper is the presentation of
the development of the polish qualications
framework (PQF) and qualications system
as an example of the implementation of
knowledge management in public policy in
Poland. As a result of applying the
knowledge management approach, the
initial proposal of the PQF was enriched and
Results refer to the PQF in the European
Qualications Framework. The publication
of the report allowed further sharing of
knowledge with a broader spectrum of
stakeholders. The subsequent phases of the
process included an assessment of the
information and knowledge needs to be
needed to proceed with the modernization of
Qualications framework; knowledge
management in public policy; lifelong
learning; human capital
(continued)
Table 1.
Reviewing
twenty years
of LLL policies
Authors
Year Country Aim Method Discussion Results Keywords
enabled a proposal to be elaborated for the
modernization and integration of the
qualications system in Poland that allows
for integration and permeability between
specic qualications subsystems as a part
of the reform of lifelong learning policy in
Poland
the qualications system in Poland, to close
the knowledge management cycle
Thelen et al.
(2012)
DE The study presents a platform named
RELOAD based on so-called Microtrainings
and the usage of a semantic net. Thereby,
they are individual, self-directed and
continuous learning processes
The article suggests that to cope with the
demographic change and to face the
shortage of skilled workers, the
employability of ageing workers has to be
secured through demographic-sensitive
learning offers. Striking and alerting in this
context is that the participation rate of low-
skilled and ageing workers in further
education lags behind other groups of
learners, and nearly no learning offers to
exist which are directly targeted to this
group and their special learning needs
E-learning; microtraining; semantic-based
knowledge platform; demographic
change; low skilled ageing workers
Thiriet et al.
(2012)
FR The present research develops the work
achieved within the ELLEIEC project,
relative to International Modules (IM) and
International Curricula Networks (ICN),
concepts proposed in the project and
experimented practically, to facilitate the
mobility of students and of citizens/workers
The article suggests to do not focus too
much about the actual courses followed by a
student (which is extremely tricky when a
student is sent abroad) but more on what
he/she gets as a whole concerning
knowledge, skills and competences, taking
also account of soft or generic skills like
internationalization, multiculturalism, team
group work, foreign language. Another
interesting aspect is the use of tools such as
RPL which is very useful
Lifelong learning; recognition; mobility
Of students; harmonization; RPL;
accreditation
Yankova et al.
(2012)
BG The main goal of this research is to
systematize the achievements in the
implementation of projects and initiatives of
The paper explores the role and
contribution of the Bulgarian library
associations in the development of
Library association; LIS higher education;
lifelong learning; state university of
(continued)
Table 1.
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Authors
Year Country Aim Method Discussion Results Keywords
the Bulgarian library associations in an
effort to be effective partners of LIS higher
education (especially with the State
University of Library Studies and
Information Technology), in LLL of LIS
professionals. The article investigates the
impact of the library organizations
activities on the theoretical elds of library
and information science and education and
also on library practice. Research methods:
retrospective and systematic analysis, desk
research and critical analysis of the results
librarianship in the country, in establishing
a modern vision for libraries and librarians
and their involvement in the information,
educational, scientic and cultural
construction of the emerging knowledge
society. It is focused on the priorities in the
work of library associations in response to
mobilizing science knowledge and policy for
sustainable development
library studies and
Information technology
Kalman (2012) HU The paper presents a research study
launched in 2008 that was part of the call for
proposals Training of competences that
establish LLL in the non-formal and
informal learning dimension. The survey
aimed to examine the will of the adult
population to learn after completing formal
studies. The methodology of the research
relies on methods of analysis and the
devices of the empirical study, implement
the pilot studies, analyze the results and the
observations of the study, elaborate the
development proposals and the
recommendations concerning the support
priorities
Results show how learning during
adulthood is considered by most
respondents to be essential for the work,
lifestyle and general human behaviour that
drives people to solve new challenges in the
natural and social context. The personal
motivation of adult education can be
determined by a multitude of factors. One of
the most important resources for continuous
learning is learning and the methodological
culture of learning promotion
Informal nonformal formal learning;
lifewide lifelong learning; adult
education
Witt and Lill
(2011)
EE This paper describes a study of learner
perceptions of construction industry skills
requirements in Estonia
Results suggest that at the policy level, a
simple, elegant vision of integration and
mutual dependence between learners,
industry and higher education institutions
is prescribed. When investigated in more
Lifelong learning; engineering education;
learner models; construction industry;
Estonia
(continued)
Table 1.
Reviewing
twenty years
of LLL policies
Authors
Year Country Aim Method Discussion Results Keywords
detail, however, the individuality of
learners, the pace at which skill level
requirements are changing in the industry
and the accommodation of previous, legacy
education systems among other challenges
add complexity
Pacheco (2011) PT Drawing upon the concept of sliding
signiersas having a multiplicity of
meanings in a given context according to its
actors and contexts, this paper explores
globalization which does not mean
homogeneity and uniformity. The paper
examines these meanings by discussing the
diverse points of view based upon existing
educational and training policies, within the
framework of the world agencies. The paper
includes, in the rst section, an integrated
approach of the concepts of curriculum, LLL
and evaluation and, in the second section,
the discussion of each of these concepts
Results show how reecting upon
curriculum, LLL and evaluation as themes
related to education and training policies
imply the discussion of their meanings
taking into account different ways of
looking at them, especially in a eld which
is marked by a disciplinary view. This does
not mean the general acceptance of
uniformity and the rejection of diversity,
particularly when curriculum, learning and
evaluation are discussed taking a personal
stance
Educational policies; training policies;
globalization; life-long learning;
evaluation; curriculum
Farrow (2011) UK A taxonomy of ethical questions based on
dominant positions in metaethical moral
theory is proposed. The author explains
how this taxonomy can be applied in a way
that facilitates the understanding of ethical
issues in mobile learning
In this article, the author discusses some of
the ethical issues related to the use of mobile
technologies in education. He argues that
the frameworks used by educators and
technologists fail to grasp the nature, scope
and impact of ethical issues in mobile
learning. This approach is intended to
enhance (rather than replace) reection on
ethical issues and support those involved
with mobile learning by helping them to
think about ethics in a systematic way
Mobile learning; policy; education;
metaethics; methodology
(continued)
Table 1.
EJTD
Authors
Year Country Aim Method Discussion Results Keywords
Aurora-
Nicoleta et al.
(2010)
RO The purpose of the article is to present the
main objectives and actions taken by the
Romanian Institute of Education Sciences as
national support services for e-Twinning in
collaboration with the Center for Innovation
in Education. At the same time, the authors
mention the most important campaigns/
projects developed within the programme in
pre-university institutions in Romania
Results emphasize the benets of co-
working in such projects using the tools of
the eTwinning platform. Approximately,
70,000 schools from 32 states are part of the
system and they are involved in over 5,000
ongoing projects. Some of the
approximately 850 projects carried out so
far enjoyed international recognition,
schools in Romania were among the
nalists/winners or receiving either annual
eTwinning prizes or European Quality
Certications from the Central Support
Services of e-Twinning in Brussels
Etwinning; information technologies;
lifelong learning
Hanson et al.
(2010)
SE The objective is to present the foundation
for and the goals with a LLL project. Nine
universities in EU will collaborate around
four themes to increase the attractiveness of
Engineering Education. The areas are: The
attractiveness of being an engineer Formal
hinders Attracting students to studies in
science and technology/engineering
education Student retention Result from the
TREE Teaching and Research in
Engineering in Europe Socrates Thematic
Network project, the TechBARO in Finland
and the Technology Delegation project in
Sweden has given inspiration in setting up
the foundation for ATTRACT project
together with other international initiatives
This paper discusses some aspects of the
attractiveness of engineering and
technology studies to be monitored by
ATTRACT project the Enhance the
Attractiveness of Studies in Science and
Technology, ATTRACT, the project is
within the EU a LLL Programme. The
strength of the project is that it will be able
to go in-depth into the practices of the
partner universities
Engineering education; student
recruitment; student retention;
attractiveness of engineering studies
Poulov
a and
Šimonov
a
(2010)
CZ Teams were established dealing with the
process of e-learning implementation in the
tertiary education, at the beginning being
In 2009 a research Evaluation of the
modern technologies contributing towards
forming and development university
e-learning activities; e-learning
implementation; tertiary education
(continued)
Table 1.
Reviewing
twenty years
of LLL policies
Authors
Year Country Aim Method Discussion Results Keywords
very informal, joining enthusiasts, and their
activities were hardly supported. Pioneering
e-learning activities in this period were
usually nanced from various, mostly
European projects. Despite the starting
troubles the awareness of possibilities
provided by e-learning was spreading
slowly but steadily. Nowadays there exist
university departments specialized in e-
learning and its implementation into the
process of instruction. There was also
established a system for funding e-learning
activities, so it does not depend on the
random effort of single employees any more
student
s competencesfocusing on e-
learning implementation at Czech
universities started, being supported by the
Czech Science Foundation. There are 26
public universities accredited in the Czech
Republic. Annual reports of these
universities were the main source of
information for this research. These trends
have step by step resulted in both
quantitative increase in ICT implementation
and related activities in tertiary education
and in a substantial shift in the quality of
formal and informal view on e-Learning
Widmark and
Koroma (2009)
SE The purpose of the steps for skills was to
improve the internal quality of health and
social care. This was to be achieved by
developing the skills of the staff working
close to older people. This learning project
for LLL has been developed in the last ten
years at the Teacher Education unit of the
University of Stockholm. The same design
but with different contents was used to
increase the competence of different target
groups; eld teachers, policemen, medical
staff, principals, etc
Results rely on the learning project for the
course Steps for Skillswhich was a
government, a multi-year national initiative
to support the long-term quality of
municipalities and development of skills in
health and social care for older people.
Researchers designed courses to carry out
the learning activities on three levels: an
individual level; an interactive level; a
practical activity level. The three levels for
learning have markedly contributed to an
analysis of the geriatric cares activity and
to development and renewal
Learning design; lifelong learning;
blended learning; collaborative learning;
communication; learning dialogue
Burman (2009) UK The articles author cautions against
subscription to emerging cultural
discourses promoting the validity and
expression of emotions distinguishing
between a feminist agenda and
Discussion argued that it is necessary to
follow the epithet emotional literacyvery
closely as a process of education for the
production of discourses on emotion, rather
than the discovery or recognition of certain
Life-long learning; emotional literacy
paradigm; feminist research; educational
research; educational development
(continued)
Table 1.
EJTD
Authors
Year Country Aim Method Discussion Results Keywords
appropriations of a pseudo-feminist
discourse that now permeate neo-liberal
governmentality. First, the article analyses
the assumptions underlying the emotional
literacyparadigm, before, secondly,
addressing some specically educational
developments related to the shift towards
life spanand LLLwithin university
assessment strategies in the form of
personal development proles
inner, individual feelings. Rather than being
passionate about emotions, the task is to
analyze the patterns of writing about
emotions in circulation. The article ends
with some more general political
connections that underline the broader
political programmes served by the
emotionalturn
Wheeler and
Yeats (2009)
UK To investigate implementation of e-
portfolios, an explanatory case study on
their use was carried out, initially focusing
on three groups of students engaged in
work-based learning and professional
practice. The three groups had e-Portfolios
embedded and assessed at different levels.
Group 1 did not have the e-Portfolio
embedded into their curriculum nor was the
e-Portfolio assessed. Group 2 had the e-
Portfolio embedded into the curriculum and
formatively assessed. Group 3 also had the
e-Portfolio embedded into the curriculum
and were summatively assessed
Results show how the use of e-portfolios
also promotes inclusivity in learning as it
provides students with the opportunity to
articulate their aspirations and take the rst
steps along the pathway of LLL. However,
ensuring the uptake of opportunities within
their learning is more complex than the
students simply having access to the
software. Results also suggest that the use
of e-Portfolios needs to be integral to
curriculum design in modules rather than
used as an additional tool. In addition to this
more user engagement was found in Group
2 where the e-Portfolio was formatively
assessed only
Lifelong learning; e-portfolio; e-learning;
curriculum design; summative
assessment;
Formative assessment
Greener (2009) UK This paper will explore the concepts and
behaviours implied in the role-modelling of
effective e-learning in the classroom,
drawing on data from teachers and learners
involved in using VLEs and other Web
resources in face-to-face sessions. A study of
Higher Education teachers in the UK
Discussion focuses on online and mixed
learning which become familiar aspects of
the university landscape; pedagogical
discussions receive higher priority and
ideas on how students can be enabled to
learn the appropriate skills for
employability and LLL, as well as the
Role modelling; social learning theory;
teaching methods; conceptions of teaching
(continued)
Table 1.
Reviewing
twenty years
of LLL policies
Authors
Year Country Aim Method Discussion Results Keywords
proposed a shift in their role and behaviour
concomitant with the explosion of VLE
usage in universities (Greener, 2008)
thought of higher-order, attract attention.
Teachers who are open to new ways of
thinking about their subject, and welcome
these self-directed student behaviours, are
more likely to integrate new technologies
into their teaching and their expertise with
technology it will be a factor in how this
integration works
Naumanen
and Tukiainen
(2010)
FI This paper presents principles taken from
literature on old age education based on
cognitive ageing (compensating and
supporting the deciencies and strengths)
not forgetting the impact of empowerment
by current ICTs in the life of elderly people.
The experience gained from directing a
computer club for the elderly is
demonstrated, based on a WWW-
questionnaire, as well as observations made
during years 20072008 in Pieksämäki,
Finland
Results show how LLL as an individual
activity that spans over ones life is not a
reality yet. Especially the elderly, those over
65 years, are in danger of lagging; the solid
trust in ones activity and learning skills is
required; besides, many aged today, lack the
learning culture (Tikkanen, 2003). Moreover,
results show that the continuing education
programme for the elderly is strongly
facilitated by peer-support which is
experienced during informal club-based
activities, as well as having a jointly
planned content, which is tailored to their
needs, motivation and ability
Lifelong learning; elderly people; cognitive
learning; ICT and elderly; computer clubs
Vardiambasis
et al. (2007)
GR This paper aims to identify the needs for
LLL of Greek engineers, based on recent
survey data publicly available by the
Technical Chamber of Greece. This
approach, as well as the experience gained
from other actions carried out by TEloC (i.e.
the establishment of a unit for lifelong
learning, the organization of summer
schools in hot areas of engineering,
workshops offered to the academic
Discussion presents how the shortage of
highly qualied engineers in our
knowledge-based economy requires the
collaborative and coordinated action of
academic institutions, professional societies,
industry players, and education
policymakers. In particular, LLL of
engineers is considered as one of the most
important presumptions for future growth
and social welfare
Engineering education; consumer
electronics; knowledge engineering;
educational institutions; electrical
products industry; continuing education;
design engineering; power engineering
and energy;
Educational technology; collaboration
(continued)
Table 1.
EJTD
Authors
Year Country Aim Method Discussion Results Keywords
instructors), present to be efcient strategies
for LLL education
Dondi and
Moretti (2007)
IT This paper presents a methodological
proposal elaborated in the framework of two
European projects dealing with game-based
learning, both of which have focused on
qualityaspects to create suitable tools
that support European educators,
practitioners and lifelong learners in
selecting and assessing learning games for
use in teaching and learning processes
Results from both the projects Uni-Game
(Game-Based Learning for Universities and
LLL) and Sig-Glue (Special Interest Group
for Game-Based Learning in Universities
and LLL) are discussed. Both have involved
organizations from different European
countries, backgrounds and expertise, and
as a result of this work, a classication of
games by learning purposesand an
evaluation framework for assessing games
have been designed and placed at the
disposal of European educators,
practitioners and lifelong learners
Foreign countries; learning processes;
lifelong learning; instructional materials;
educational games; instructional material
evaluation; media selection
Linkaityte
et al. (2006)
LT The authors of this article aim to develop
the theoretical conditions for modelling the
activities of adult educators in the LLL. The
document is based on theoretical literature
and European and national policy
documents on adult education and LLL,
including observations derived from the
personal experience of AduEdu partners
from eight European countries. The roles
and functions of adult educators are
explored and a model is proposed for the
design of the activity system for adult
educators
The paper summarizes ndings from the
SOCRATES Grundvig 1 project AduEdu
–“Qualications of Adult Educator in
Knowledge Society
The novelty of this model is its description
of the activity of adult educator on ve
levels: national, regional, institutional,
interpersonal and individual
Adult education; framework of
qualications; lifelong learning
Kavrakos
(2006)
GR This paper aims at understanding a
methodological frame of certication for
professional qualications acquired via
informal learning. A operational research
Discussion presents how RDAs are some of
the most proper organizations to provide
certicated training programmes using new
technologies customized for each employee
Certication; qualications;
unemployment; government; business;
Continuing professional development;
(continued)
Table 1.
Reviewing
twenty years
of LLL policies
Authors
Year Country Aim Method Discussion Results Keywords
(OR) based model was made as a tool for
Regional Development Agencies (RDAs)
that consists of tests, evaluations and
tutoring. The candidate evaluation takes
into account the formal qualications
required by legislation includes the skills
and the relevant professional experience but
also relates to qualications from his
attendance of professional training
seminars
or businessman or an unemployed citizen
and their local needs. RDAs have the
advantage to combine funds from the
European Union, the national or the local
government and demand a very small
amount from the individual persons that
come to be served
collaboration; vocational training; testing;
legislation
Lenssen et al.
(2006)
PT This paper aims to investigate the
interaction between the sustainability of the
European social model and the European
Unions revised Lisbon Strategy and its
focus on jobs and growth. The success of
this strategy following its ve-year mid-
term review in 2005 depends on attempts
to renew European competitiveness
through, for example, innovation and LLL
and well-designed reforms of the European
social model
Findings show how the sustainability of the
European social model depends on the
success of the overall strategy for growth
and jobs, in which innovation and LLL are
key. The concrete solutions to achieve a
successful combination of those factors in
each member state need to be found by the
countries themselves. That is why the
preparation and implementation of Europe-
wide National Reform Programmes for
growth and jobs open an opportunity to
drive competitiveness which should not be
missed
Competitive strategy; European union;
European union information; social
structure; lifelong learning; innovation
Kourtoumi
(2006)
GR The rst section of the paper discusses the
concepts supporting digital collections by
networking and integrating collections of
digitized archival resources to create new
services and infrastructures. The second
part of the paper analyses from the
educational perspective of LLL important
social benets, both quantitively and
qualitatively, of developing new
Results show how archives have a key role
to play in underpinning learning in its
broadest sense, both as a formal activity
within an institution and informally within
the community. This is becoming especially
important in an increasingly KM-based
environment where communities can look to
archives for support and guidance in
accessing content information
Life-long learning; social policy; digital
collections; archival resources
(continued)
Table 1.
EJTD
Authors
Year Country Aim Method Discussion Results Keywords
infrastructures for accessing and using
archival resources
Anastasiades
(2005)
GR This paper intends to introduce the idea and
content of educational digital divide,
concerning the key actions of European
Union policies on the confrontation of this
social phenomenon
The paper shows how education and
technology have become interrelated as
concepts, now that the Internet, the
educational multimedia and an array of
asynchronous applications have inundated
the educational environment. The
educational process in the European Union
is presented as the most important tool in
the context of transformation towards the
Information Society. Its role is to ensure the
citizen all the necessary means to manage in
a completely different social and
technological environment
Web-based education; educational digital
divide; European union policies; life-long
learning
Whyley and
Westwood
(2005)
UK This paper examines the steps taken
towards realizing Wolverhampton Local
Education Authoritys (LEA) vision for a
21st century Learning City”–placing all
learners at the heart of the system. An
outline is provided of the LEAs journey
aiming at personalized learning, from vision
to reality for a city of 40,000þlearners
This paper reects on the progress made by
the City of Wolverhampton in trying to
bring together all of the key elements
currently recognized as being needed to
enable 21st learning. It describes how one
UK City has moved from a vision for e-
learning to reality in the space of four years.
The paper also looks beyond current
developments to respond to the needs of
learners as they engage in this technology-
rich environment
E-learning; learners; technology;
personalized learning
Sonyel (2004) CY This qualitative study unravels teachers
perception of involvement in LLL through
literature review. It also attempts to foster
and encourage LLL through
professionalism and as the twenty-rst
century is approaching, learning throughout
The ndings suggest that lifelong learning
is signicant as the nature of teaching
demands teachers to be engaged in
continuing career-long professional
development and additionally, they are the
schoolsgreatest asset to deliver knowledge.
Educational institutions; government;
rhythm; education; educational
programmes; instruments; economic
forecasting; ethics; books; professional
activities
(continued)
Table 1.
Reviewing
twenty years
of LLL policies
Authors
Year Country Aim Method Discussion Results Keywords
life will be essential for adapting to the
evolving requirements of the labour market
and for better mastery of the changing time-
frames and rhythms of an integral part of
national and international policies
The ndings of this study also indicate that
lifelong learning is signicant for educators
and can be summed up under three main
headings as: to develop themselves as
professionals; learning throughout life will
be essential for adapting to the evolving
requirements of the labour market and for
better mastery of the changing time-frames
and rhythms; and the view of lifelong
learning can be attached to individual and
social development
Mihnev and
Nikolov (2004)
BG The document conceptualizes the
experiences of the Center of Information
Society Technologies, Soa University,
Bulgaria, in satisfying the learning and
training needs of non-university publics
who fall into situations that can be dened
as determined by LLL
In developing this conceptualization the
authors use research results and political
agendas in two distinct areas: LLL and
higher education systems. As a result of
three streams of thought and practice, they
outline an interfacemodel of an
interdisciplinary university structure, which
aims to explicitly satisfy LLL market
demands
Higher education; learning demands;
learning delivery; lifelong learning;
management; organization; service
provider
Røsvik (2003) NO This paper presents a case study of a
Norwegian primary school as an example of
the approach used to introduce ICT policy in
Norway. This paper presents a programme
of a lower primary school (6 to 10 year-olds),
which has taken up the challenge of
focusing on learning to learn, including the
use of ICT
After an overview of Norwegian school
system and national goals for ICT in
education, the paper describes the
challenges teachers and schools face when
implementing curricula designed to full
different national expectations, ranging
from specic skills and pieces of knowledge
to more general goals such as preparing
students for the future society. The most
important actor in the Norwegian classroom
is the student while the teacher creates
stimulating learning environments.
Elementary education; conditions for
learning; organizing for learning;
collaboration
(continued)
Table 1.
EJTD
Authors
Year Country Aim Method Discussion Results Keywords
Learning to learn and LLL are considered
the main tasks of schools
Breiter (2003) DE This paper tries to develop a concept of a
regional education network that includes
pre-school, K-12 and further education,
public libraries and community centres, as
well as other educational institutions.
Taking the path of the digital divide as a
social and educational divide and focusing
on the school as one major player in the
regional network, the innovation process
and the actors involved in it are highlighted
and explored. Using action research in a
project between schools, local community,
private partners and the university, the
concept of the regional network is
illustrated
Results show that the so-called digital
divideseems to be a major social obstacle
for the Information Society. Most experts
agree that citizens will need competencies
that go beyond the basic cultural skills. The
idea of LLL illustrates a major problem of
educational institutions: they work
separately, they only process the results of
the preceding phase and there is a lack of
interconnection
Digital divide; equity; lifelong learning/
education; partnership
Hylén (2001) SE The paper will deal with the two most
important challenges facing education
today: the increasing globalization and
permeation of ICT of our society. To meet
these two challenges 18 Ministries of
Education in Europe joined forces in 1997 to
create a common internet platform, called
the European Schoolnet. Two scenarios will
be outlined: the diminishing school a
reduction of the schools and the role of the
teacher and a growth in homeschooling; the
expanding school where the need for LLL
puts the school in the centre of the
development and changes the role of the
The objectives were to nd synergies
between national initiatives, to promote the
use of ICT in education and to facilitate co-
operation between schools in Europe. Now
the time has come to ask not only what ICT
can do for schools but also what ICT does to
schools? How does the inuence of ICT on
society change the role of the school and the
teacher?
To help to transform the second scenario
into reality, the European Schoolnet must in
the coming year focus its attention on four
areas: collaboration, communities, content
and commerce
Communications; innovation; networks;
policy
(continued)
Table 1.
Reviewing
twenty years
of LLL policies
Authors
Year Country Aim Method Discussion Results Keywords
teacher to become a guide to learning in
schools and companies
Jenkins et al.
(2001)
UK This article takes into consideration the
long-term effect of a degree in graduate
lives. Following a degree programme that
has used active learning methods within a
modular course for over 20 years,
researchers provide a prototype to evaluate
lifelong learning generated by modern
teaching methods
While agreeing with other researchers that
there are common benets from a degree,
they also conclude that there is a huge
variation in the long-term effects of a course
on a relatively homogeneous group of
students. The variation derives from four
main sources: background of individual
students; different reconstructions of the
same academic experience; the different
personal circumstances during college; and
the effects of individual careers after
graduation (which in turn leads to further
individual reconstructions)
Life-long learning; degree; graduate lives;
active learning methods; modern teaching
methods
Carr (1999) UK The paper discusses a solution for
developing multimedia management
courseware in the higher and further
education sectors, which can then be
transferred to SMEs to meet their training
needs
Twenty interviews with key SME training
informants reveal that a simple transfer of
material is unlikely to prove adequate; the
peculiarities of the SME learning
environment represent a major challenge to
the design and delivery of effective
multimedia management training for this
sector. The proposed benets of multimedia
courseware for SME training are the
removal of existing training barriers: time,
cover, purchasing power, socializing
multimedia, ICT skills, negative attitudes,
Generic versus Bespoke Training
Courseware delivery; life-long learning;
multimedia management courseware;
small and medium-sized enterprises
(continued)
Table 1.
EJTD
Authors
Year Country Aim Method Discussion Results Keywords
Rinne (1998) FI This article presents sociologically and
historically oriented reconceptualizations of
the changing relationship between labour
and learning in the reexive modern era. It
claims that the whole modern division of
labour does not merely reveal the nature by
which we dene morality but also it is a
crucial condition for the whole solidarity of
humankind
The article comes to the conclusion that the
rst modern period, and the Keynesian
welfare state policy with its homogenous
workforce and policies of full employment,
has come to its historical end. The author
sees that education has always been seen as
a major component in the great
Enlightenment project, which has been
connected and incorporated by the national
state. LLL, on the contrary, has been less
incorporated, less an early modern, but
more a marginal and informal position,
waving the ag for both individuals and
groups from below
Labour society; learning society; life-long
learning; educational system
Table 1.
Reviewing
twenty years
of LLL policies
1990s, a new set of transitions and adjustment challenges for society, industry and
individuals happened. Increased exclusion of large segments of the population, especially of
young adults, exacerbated socio-economic divisions and seen as a threat to Europe cohesion
as such. Moreover, while there was an understanding that adult education in itself does not
serve to create jobs, LLL was addressed to promote those life learning key-competences for
adapting to new social and economic life. Such a policy evolution is linked to the research
stream developed to evaluate the social impact of such policies and resumed in the review
presented in Table 1.
In the review-table is possible to observe the above historical evolution of the LLL
policies oriented to different outcomes (i.e. employability, social exclusion, development of
strategic competencies). This progress is in line with a different target of the population.
While that at the end 1990s LLL were thought as a way for helping older people to be
updated with the last digital revolution (i.e. the spread of internet and of personal
computers), nowadays LLL policies focus more on the young adult situation: namely, they
are more oriented to avoid social exclusion by developing strategic LLL competencies
instead of just technological skills. This change in LLL policies over time also affects the
several methodologies used for delivering such policies. Indeed, lifelong learning policies are
comprised between traditional and new methods programmes, very diverse and
fragmented. Probably the most established LLL way of job inclusion among the EU member
states is represented by apprenticeship and vocational practices, which will be next
introduced together with other new learning methods-based communication technology
(ICT) as a mean to educate participants, such as the Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs).
Beyond conceptual and methodological differences, it is possible to observe a
convergence point among the different LLL programmes: avoiding social exclusion through
participation in the job market by enhancing self-employability. On the other hand, such
institutional action has also been developed to face current criticisms regarding the supply
of adult education in many European countries dened as inadequate because it often fails
to include the most vulnerable groups such as the young, the unemployed, the low skilled
(Jarvis, 2004). Recent criticisms on LLL policieseffects will be discussed after the following
section on methods and LLL programmes.
Besides social exclusion, it should also be acknowledged the links set during the Sixth
International Conference on Adult Education (CONFINTEA; 2017) between LLL and
the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development by United Nations (Robinson, 2017). The
conference afrmed the essential role of LLL in supporting the future transformation of the
world, especially with regards to population health, environmental sustainability and
economic resilience.
2.2 Traditional and new methods for delivering lifelong learning and job market inclusion in
European young adults
In the following sections, we present different LLL programmes (i.e. apprenticeship systems,
vocational training or vocational community colleges, active labour market programmes,
ICT training and MOOCs) related to LLL policies development. Starting from the more
traditional and established programme, we will introduce next how computers and the
internet have harnessed best to improve the efciency and effectiveness of education at all
levels and in both formal and non-formal settings.
2.2.1 Apprenticeship systems and vocational practices. In the review table, it is
interesting to address the various ways in which EU member states deal with the transition
from school to employment in their own country. Traditionally, there are three different
ways in which the labour market integration of young peoples is organized in:
EJTD
apprenticeship systems (i.e. young people enter a company and attend vocational school-
based training simultaneously), school/college-based vocational education, higher education
(i.e. young people learn skills in an institutional setting) and learning-by-doing (i.e. young
people enter the workplace and learn the necessary skills while working). In most countries,
all three pathways are used depending on different occupations; however, the relevance of
the different channels varies. For example, in Germany, despite many worries that the dual
system no longer provides the safe transition to employment it once did (Busemeyer and
Trampusch, 2013), still more than 60% of a school-leaverscohort enter an apprenticeship
(BMBF, 2013); while in the UK, the higher education initial participation rate of 18 and 19-
year old in learning was 23% (Department for Education, 2014). Mediterranean and Latin
states remain relatively centralized and comprehensive, with continuing domination of a
fairly traditional educational paradigm. The Nordic countries moved partially and
cautiously toward the apprenticeship system. However, they still stand apart in their
regional afnities for local public control combined with structural and curricula integration
and universalism. The Nordic states also tend to have extensive participation in adult
continuing developing the established European LLL key-competences and have, arguably,
gone further than most in realizing the goals of LLL (Öhrn and Weiner, 2017). As well, the
vocational education and training system is seen as a priority by the European Union to
promote the development of the member states. This priority has also been reafrmed by
the Maastricht Communiqué of 14 December 2004, which indicated the need for greater
European cooperation in the eld of Vocational Education and Training (VET), identifying
the commitments that each EU member state would take actions that need to be done in this
regard (Oliver, 2010).
In addition to these established pathways, many national governments installed active
labour market programmes. Originally, these programmes were meant to be temporary and
should address mass youth unemployment in the 1980s or after the transition of Eastern
European countries (Sharland et al.,2013). However, they seemed to have become
established systems to address mainly disadvantaged people. Ideally, programmes address
the individual needs of young people by getting skills to nd employment (e.g. Careers
Services, nding an appropriate occupation, identication of necessary qualication needs,
CV writing, job interview training), aid to gain the necessary qualications and skills to
enter a profession (e.g. school-based apprenticeships or other vocational training) or
subsidized employment: i.e. young people enter temporary employment to gain work
experiences and manage to build up networks, which should improve their chances in the
unsubsidized labour market.
2.2.2 Innovation and new technologies for enduring learning. As a recognized part of
training procedures, the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in the learning
and training eld has made progress over time. This is noticeable in the last studies present
in the review table suggesting that the integration of ICT in training has positive effects on
learning results (Bates, 2001;Diochon and Cameron, 2001;Jochems et al., 2013;Leask and
Pachler, 2013). The way in which learning can result from the combination of education and
training with the use of ICT is principally known as e-learning but also as computer-based
training (CBT) and web-based training and, eventually, as MOOC, (Ismail, 2001;Šumak
et al.,2011). MOOC have been considered as a possible solution for many emerging states for
promoting a low cost but effective teaching system (Kaplan and Haenlein, 2016). For
example, learn LLL key-competences such as word processing, programming, image
editing, nancial spreadsheets and web development do not necessarily require the presence
of traditional education.
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of LLL policies
The reason why there are a variety of technologies, methodologies, frameworks and
architecture systems available, is because the impact of learning aspects change, based on
different user types, the subject of learning, and e-learning interaction necessary. The
importance of multimedia learning aspects, for example, is related to the ability of users in
dealing with these new instruments, which are in turn related to some user differences, as
argued within the framework of the technology acceptance model theory (Davis et al.,1989).
Current technology acceptance research evaluates causal effect sizes between unskilled and
experienced users (Šumak et al.,2011). The acceptance of e-learning, studies commonly,
consider young adults as typical users, where researchers usually nd high acceptance of
e-learning technology about this young generation compare to the previous ones. As well,
from another point of view, the successful implementation and introduction of e-learning
technologies require adaptability among teachers, professors and trainers who use these
technologies for providing learning materials to users (Šumak et al.,2011). Usually, such
people need training too, to develop those LLL competences for beneting, providing and
spreading a better e-learning service.
E-learning technologies are mainly used in educational institutions, but as well in
organizations to offer advanced ways of providing education to their users.The use of these
technologies in the organizational eld is quite recent. E-learning, as well as distance
education systems, and MOOC have been considered by organizations as a possible solution
for promoting a low cost, buteffective training system, face learning challenges. But it is not
only a question of costs; education programmes aim to address the worst contemporary
problems: unemployment, skills mismatches and lack of labour mobility without borders
inside or outside organizations, companies and institutions. Considering the Work
programme 20142015 of Horizon 2020, in fact, the ICT is crucial to boosting the
modernization of education and training for the developing the so-called LLL competences.
The challenge is to reinvent the education ecosystem and re-empower teachers in the digital
age. Partnerships and collaboration between public and private stakeholders including
innovative entrepreneurs more open and innovative practices for richer and more
engaging and motivating learning and teaching experiences will be key to facilitate the
transformation of the education and training.
3. Discussion
As seen, in the last decade, a new model of LLL policy was developed to facilitate a more
advanced understanding of processes of social inclusion. The approach recognizes the multi-
dimensional nature of vulnerability and the ways in which young people draw on different
resources to secure employment. To make effective these transitions, young people have to
draw on a variety of resources including educational qualications, vocational training and
skills, as well as general knowledge. Aspects of a personal agency such as initiative and
motivation are also crucial, and it is essential to acknowledge processes of rationalization as
a factor that provides a mediating link between such personal resources and above
outcomes. In many cases, young people are able to compensate for decits in specic
resources (education, for example). However, when a resource decit is combined with weak
policy agency, there is likely to be a dramatic increase in the chances of negativeoutcomes.
In these circumstances, those who were unable to rely on previous formal education were
most vulnerable to social exclusion. In light of this, the development of LLL competences
becomes the rst step to take for any educational policymaker. In the next section, we will
analyze the expected outcomes of such LLL policies and a discussion concerning recent
criticisms on such programmes follows.
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3.1 Employability and strategic lifelong learning key-competences development as signicant
outcomes of lifelong policies in Europe
With the economic crisis, the decreasing of job positions for younger, and the concurrent
high rates of youth jobless, young people are remaining in education and training for a
longer time and they get a stable occupation later in life. On the other side, a growing
number of them nd new ways of combining part-time work with education and training
paths, sometimes through long periods. In most of the European countries, there has been a
trend to shorter job periods, job jumping, the prevalence of part-time and short-term jobs
and self-employed work (Mackenbach et al., 2008). The psychological result of being a
young adult without a work identity and continuously in training can generate situations of
distress and negative mental states such as anxiety, depression, isolation, disaffection,
disengagement, and, eventually, social exclusion (Quintano et al.,2018;OECD, 2016).
Lifelong learning policies are, in a way, responding to the demands of such a context. They
look for providing a greater variety of exible learning possibilities, including different
settings of learning, by replying to the challenges of modern life and to the diverseness of
individual needs. Personalized training careers involve individuals able to take
responsibility for building their personal learning pathways to increase their strategic LLL
key-competences and next employability. Nevertheless, this also means that organizations
and communities must be sensitive to peoples needs. For this reason, in many instances,
LLL policies are recommended as a way of promoting social coherence (although not much
attention is paid to howthis can be reached).
Analysis of policies across Europe ranges all the way from demand-led of voluntary
partnership in the UK (i.e. the network model) to the more formalized social partnership
models of the northern continental and Nordic states, to the more static models common in
more of the southern European states (Green, 2002). The common trend in legislation and
governance in Europe has been away from direct government administrative control over
educational processes and towards greater devolution of operational control to other levels.
Given that, the growing uncertainty of employment has prompted new models for
employment practices, eventually leading to new patterns and status of careers (Mills et al.,
2006).
Lifelong learning policies represent a driver to foster expertise among multiple
organizations and jobs, potentially enabling creativity and performance (Maurer, 2001).
Such a consideration appears of particular importance given that nowadays fewer
individuals follow stable or expected career patterns within one organization, whereas a
greater and growing number of career experiences are likely to develop across, rather
than inside of, company boundaries (OMahony and Bechky, 2006). Such a mobile labour
force may well need to rely on LLL policies interventions aiming at fostering higher
employability. In line with literature from the career realm, it is underlined the role of the
individual in continually managing career-related changes, entailing willingness and
adaptability (Pulakos et al., 2006) and dened career identity to give direction to ones
career pathway. Such a LLL skill can be well-dened in terms of employability, which
refers to the full range of individual capabilities to gain and maintain an employment and
to obtain a new one if required (Hillage and Pollard, 1998). Employability has been
conceptualized from multiple perspectives and theoretical proposals, which encompass a
focus on the individual, the organization, or the society as a whole. Such a construct,
therefore, represents a concept underlying the development of LLL policies aiming to
enable young adults to identify and develop the key-competences necessary to nd,
retain and progress in employment.
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of LLL policies
3.2 Lifelong learning policies collateral eect: challenging young people social exclusion issues
in contemporary Europe
Young people at risk of social exclusion can also hold multiple disadvantages (e.g.
disabilities, lack of school qualication, belonging to a minority ethnic group), all of which
decrease further their chances of nding, retaining, and progressing in employment. Other
young people come from a family background where previous generations were excluded
from the labour market, and thus, lack an understanding of the needs to acquire or retain
key-competences. These conditions can create vulnerable groups of people with few chances
to be involved in LLL programmes. However, even without these kinds of disadvantages,
the number of young people not in education, employment or training (NEET) within
Europe remains high. It is remarkable that the number of young people not in employment
but attending formal education varies across different European countries.
The differences stem from the educational systems, but other factors such as the length
of compulsory schooling and access to tertiary education also play a role. On average, 37%
of all young people within European member states are in formal education; however, this
varies across the individual member states. After leaving formal education, they are either
unemployed, inactive, passive job seekers, discouraged to enter the labour market or
deliberately to avoid it. In 2009, when the nancial crisis worsened by leaving few available
jobs, in the EU, nearly 17% of the population 1824 years of age were classied as NEET,
varying from 6% in The Netherlands to 26% in Spain.
As seen earlier, LLL is expected to contribute to overcome the economic and social crisis
and meet the Europe 2020 targets on employment, poverty reduction, education,
sustainability and innovation. Especially for young adults, suitable LLL skills and
qualications are necessary to gain access to employment. In recent decades, there have
been structural shifts which created mismatches between labour supply and demand (e.g.
shift towards the service industries, shift towards non-manual labour) and those without the
skills to adapt to these changes are more likely to become long-term unemployed or to work
in low-paid unstable work (Forrier and Sels, 2003). Recent research shows that in a
European comparison, there is a less vertical mismatch if the school-to-work transition is
more highly stratied (Levels et al., 2014).
Lifelong learning, in this context, allows young people to build up a lifelong habit to
adapt to changes in the workplace. As the Education, Youth, Culture and Sport Council
meeting recalls that the last economic crisis accentuated the importance of the education to
work transition: ensuring that young people leave education and training with the best
possible support to obtain their rst job is critical. Young people who face unemployment or
a slow transition may experience long-term adverse effects in terms of future labour market
success, earnings or family formation. This may, in turn, jeopardize public and
private investment in their education and training, whichresults in a loss for the society as a
whole. This is particularly true in the context of demographic challenges, which put added
pressure on Europes increasing scarcity ofyoung people to integrate quickly and effectively
into the labour market. As a consequence, several EU benchmarks set for the 2020 focus on
the transition from education and training into the labour market for facilitating policy
exchanges under the Education and Training 2020 (ET2020) framework on measures to
enhance the employability of graduates (Council of the European Union, 2012). Moreover, for
young adults, it is also relevant to remaining trainable by understanding the need to develop
key-competences according to changes in the workplace. Nowadays every workplace
presents rapid changes in tasks and in the structure, and it requires employees with the
ability to adapt to these changes, to be positively engaged in LLL programmes.
EJTD
3.3 All that glitters is not gold: risks connected to lifelong learning programmes and new
challenges
Considering the situations seen above, the presence of several policies, programmes,
institutions and guidelines related to LLL constitutes an important background for an
analysis of existing LLL policies across European countries. On the other hand, the risk of
an uncontrolled promotion of LLL policies exists. For instance, it is important to consider
LLL as a universal right; however, it must be contextualized on the basis of the real needs of
the stakeholder. Among others, the greatest risk is to create a logic of competition that
encourages the continuing education of people already trained or with a stable job,
excluding those who are not entered in any career or training programme.
Moreover, another challenge to be faced is represented by the uneven distribution of the
costs for LLL between enterprises, individuals and families (OECD, 2001). Both the
underrepresentation of vulnerable groups and the uneven distribution of funding show
the persistent weakness and ineffectiveness of some adult education policies. However, the
role of LLL is still vital to overcome the economic and social crisis and to meet the Europe
2020 targets by fostering higher. Indeed with the last decade, the focus on young people was
reinforced with the adoption of the rst European LLL political strategy. Quality education
and training, successful labour market integration and increased mobility were identied as
key to unleashing young peoples potential and achieving the ongoing Europe 2020
objectives. To reach such goals, EU LLL programmes, policies and strategies were
implemented as follows:
The Youth Guarantee Scheme, which has been implemented at European or national
level to ensure that all young people aged under 25 get good-quality employment
offers, continuing education or an apprenticeship or traineeship within four months
of leaving school or becoming unemployed. It is included in the Youth Employment
Package.
The EU Youth Strategy for 20102018, which aims to provide more and equal
opportunities for young people in education and in the labour market, and to
promote active citizenship and social inclusion for all young people.
Youth on the Move, a framework of policy priorities for action at national and EU
level to reduce youth unemployment by facilitating the transition from school to
work and reducing labour market segmentation. Here, the role of public
employment services is vital, as they promote the Youth Guarantee scheme to
ensure that all young people are in a job, in education or in activation, creating a
European Vacancy Monitor and supporting young entrepreneurs.
The agenda for new skills and jobs (COM:2010; 682): a European contribution
towards full employment, aimed at enhancing the performance of education and
training systems and seeking to equip young people with the relevant skills
and competences for labour market needs. Which aims to improve employability
and employment opportunities for young people.
The Youth employment initiative(2013), which reinforces and accelerates the
measures outlined in the Youth employment initiative. It supports particularly
young people not in education, employment or training in regions with a youth
unemployment rate above 25%.
It is expected that appropriate investment in LLL will contribute to the overcoming the
economic and social crisis and meet the Europe 2020 targets on employment, poverty
reduction, and innovation. However, since then almost fty policies have been developed
Reviewing
twenty years
of LLL policies
over the last twenty years, recognize successful LLL programmes, both traditional and
innovative, already reach out to young adults at risk of work and social exclusion, might
help for developing new and better programs. In the next section, we analyze the practical
implications concerning the present review and ways for managing such data.
4. Practical implications
Analyzing why, for which particular target group, and in which national and regional section,
LLL programmes can be identied as successful could lead to better policy-making
implantation. A practical proposal could be related to the development of a computational
model that analyses, simplies and connects data from all EU policy documents to allow easier
access to information and to support policymaker in the different phases of the policy cycle. In
this way, the policymaker would have the opportunity to explore the consequences of the
introduction of new policies in advance of its effective application following a what if [...]
approach. The investigation should consider quantitative and qualitative analyses to
investigate policies both at the European and at the national level and in particular LLL
policies, considering diversity issues as gender, culture, language, educational attainment, LLL
competences developed, labour status, costs of previous LLL projects, etc. This would be an
opportunity to generate new scientic knowledge, to create cooperation amongst different
European countries and to collect data to compare and analyse adult education across Europe.
Since that most Educational and Training systems are now LLL competencies-centered,
to guide the analysis of EU policies, the European taxonomy of Skills, Competences,
Qualications and Occupations (ESCO) can establish a framework capable of transcending
sector and national specicities. Developed by the European Commission, the CEDEFOP
(European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training), and a group of stakeholders,
this taxonomy focused to the creation of a common language between education and training,
and the labourmarket. ESCO is structured in three main hierarchical pillars: occupation (i.e. a
grouping of jobs involving similar tasks, and which require a similar skillset); skill and
competence; qualication (i.e. the formal outcome of an assessment and validation process
which is obtained when a competent body determines that an individual has achieved
learning outcomes to given standards). These pillars are interrelated to each other.
In June of 2002, the European Commission identies fteen qualitative indicators of LLL
grouped in four main areas:
(1) skills, competencies, and attitudes (Area A);
(2) access and participation (Area B);
(3) resources for Lifelong Learning (Area C); and
(4) strategies and system development (Area D).
In light of this LLL policy analysis, the assessment and feasibility of the policy-making
could be supported by intelligent DSS based on this common language. DSS is a computer
technology solution that can be used to support complex decision making and problem-
solving.
Over the past three decades, DSS has taken on both a narrower or broader denition,
while other systems have emerged to assist specic types of decision-makers faced with
specic kinds of policy-making problems (Shim et al.,2002). As a computer-based system
the DSS, simplifying the language, knowledge, and problem processing systems, could: and
spell out the multiple indicators, taxonomies, and analyses conducted;
connect all variables aimed to highlight the theoretical policy-effects associations.
EJTD
In the end, the model could show the effects of the overall system under the application of a
certain policy. In this way, to obtain the desired achievements, the policymaker would have
the opportunity to explore the consequences of the introduction of new LLL policies in
advance, as well as its effective application, testing different scenarios.
5. Limitations
This study has some limitations, such as the presence of researches with different
approaches in the vast area of lifelong learning. Indeed, lifelong learning policies could be
applied to very specicelds, such as computer science or medical professions, to extreme
generic jobs. Moreover, approaches of such studies present methodological differences
among them, which make comparisons hard to establish. Many of these studies are based on
descriptive and narrative experiences related to EU projects developed, whereas just a
limited portion of them regard quantitative studies. Finally, some of European countries,
such as Slovenia, do not present any study in relation to the experience of LLL policies in the
past ten years.
6. Conclusion
The aim of this contribution was to deal with and then report about, the education policies
aimed at increasing employability applied across Europe, through a comparative review of
adult education and LLL. Such a recognition allows unearthing successful programmes
applied by countries that tackled the unemployment raising of the past years more
efciently than others, conning the damages arose by social exclusion and inequality. This
promises a potential for a stronger strategic focus, greater synergies and sharing best
practices, simplication of the structure with fewer actions, as well as changes that are in
line with the proposed recommendations for a provision of more inclusive and accessible
opportunities. Perhaps most signicantly, the new education and training programmes
bring about a positive change to the legal framework of the programme, committing the
Commission and Member States to ensure particular efforts to facilitate the participation of
people with difculties for educational, social, gender, physical, psychological, geographical,
economic and cultural reasons (Kapoor et al.,2017). This is a signicant step in the process
and represents a unique opportunity to implement LLL for all.
On the other hand, this contribution aimed at proposing a tool to support policy-making,
which can be constituted by an intelligent DSS that would facilitate the institutionsdecision
processes and its policy-making. In particular, a DSS can show which education policy is
needed, preventing future labour crisis and the formation of more NEET individuals. The
creation of such an intelligent DSS could have implications on the whole of the European
community, especially for policymakers as a guideline in the process of decision making for
identifying appropriate measures for supporting young people and adults, taking into
account diversity issues that represent risks of social exclusion and deepening the analysis
of several labour market policies to capitalize on existing knowledge.
Note
1. Horizon 2020 is the biggest EU Research and Innovation programme ever with nearly e80bn of
funding available over seven years (2014 to 2020) in addition to the private investment that this
money will attract. Horizon 2020 is the nancial instrument implementing the Innovation Union,
a Europe 2020 agship initiative aimed at securing Europes global competitiveness. Seen as a
means to drive economic growth and create jobs, Horizon 2020 has the political backing of
Europes leaders and the Members of the European Parliament. They agreed that research is an
Reviewing
twenty years
of LLL policies
investment in our future and so put it at the heart of the EUs blueprint for smart, sustainable and
inclusive growth and jobs.
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Corresponding author
Andrea Ceschi can be contacted at: andrea.ceschi@univr.it
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