Tikkanen, T., & Nyhan, B. (Eds.). (2006). Promoting lifelong learning for older workers: An international overview. Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities.
This book examines the role of and challenges faced by older workers from the perspective of lifelong learning. The edited book focuses on European approaches and experiences, but the European perspective is also contextualized through chapters dealing with Australia, Japan and the US. The over-arching conclusion is that policy changes are crucial in the following three areas: creating new attitudes to ageing and learning at work; building inclusive, supportive, learning-oriented workplaces for people as they grow older; and creating partnerships throughout society to address the demographic challenge. Topics covered in the various chapters include the impact of workplace practices on older workers' learning, the views of older employees on work and learning (including personal reflections) and critical perspectives on policy and practice.
KEY WORDS: Lifelong Learning; Training; Aging; Older Workers; Life Course; Adult Education.
Tougas, F., Lagacé, M., De La Sablonnière, R., & Kocum, L. (2004). A new approach to the link between identity and relative deprivation in the perspective of ageism and retirement. International Journal of Aging & Human Development, 59(1), 1-23.
Although the work force is aging, views regarding older workers remain negative. As a result, complaints of discrimination on the basis of age have increased. This situation prompts the following questions: what leads aging workers to acknowledge disparities between younger workers and themselves, and what are the consequences for aging workers of integrating into their self-image some of the characteristics commonly associated with their cohort? These questions are examined in light of a new approach to the link between identity and relative deprivation. The following hypotheses were included in a predictive model: the more individuals include characteristics of their group into their self-descriptions, the more they experience personal deprivation when comparing their own situation to that of younger workers. These feelings, in turn, affect them during retirement in terms of lowered self-esteem and decreased satisfaction with their life. This model was tested among 149 young retirees. Hypotheses were confirmed, and it was shown that end-of-career experiences have an impact on the situation of young retirees. The more individuals integrated characteristics of aging workers, the more they felt personally deprived as a result of invidious comparisons with young co-workers. The latter also had a negative impact on self-esteem and life satisfaction. Implications of results and new avenues of research are discussed herein.
KEY WORDS: Ageism; Deprivation; Life Satisfaction; Retirement; Self Concept; Employee Characteristics; Quality of Work Life; Changes in Paid Work.
Underhill, C. (2006). Training through the ages. Perspectives on Labour and Income, 18(4), 26-37.
Using Statistics Canada data, the author finds support for earlier conclusions that adult education, and in particular job-related training, appears to be accessed primarily by those who are already well-educated (SC-HRDC 2001). The article provides evidence that, in all age groups, higher levels of education corresponded with greater participation in formal job-related training. Individuals with low initial levels of education are more likely to be employed in low-paying jobs, where investment in training is likely minimal. However, university-educated older workers participated less frequently than younger university-educated workers. Nearly three-quarters of those who engaged in job-related training in 2002 received employer support (72%). Nearly two-thirds (63%) of all adult employees engaged in some form of self-directed learning in 2002. As with formal training, self-directed learning tended to be less common for older workers, being cited by just over half of those aged 55 to 64 compared with two-thirds of those 25 to 34. Training participants had substantially higher rates of self-directed learning than non-participants across all age groups (82% versus 53% overall).
KEY WORDS: Workplace Training; Informal Learning; Self-directed Learning; Older Adults; Statistics Canada; Age Inequality; Quantitative; Labour; Lifelong Learning; Adult Training.
Warren, J. R., Hauser, R. M., & Sheridan, J. T. (2002). Occupational stratification across the life course: Evidence from the Wisconsin longitudinal study. American Sociological Review, 67(3), 432-455.
Sociologists all too often study changes across cohorts in the consequences of family background, gender, education, & cognitive ability for occupational outcomes. However, this study focuses on how the consequences of these variables change within the course of individuals' lives. To accurately estimate changes across the life course in the determinants of occupational standing, corrections are made for measurement errors in variables, & data on siblings are used to account for all aspects (measured & unmeasured) of family background. The analyses use data from the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study, which provides multiple measures of siblings' occupational standing at four moments in their lives. Models of sibling resemblance demonstrate that the effects of family background on occupational standing operate entirely through their effects on education & cognitive ability. The effects of education decline across the life course, at the same time the effects of ability remain small but persistent. In comparing men & women, significant differences are found in career trajectories & in life course changes in occupational returns to schooling.
KEY WORDS: Life Cycle; Cognitive Functioning; Educational Attainment; Social Background; Occupational Status; Wisconsin; Siblings; Sex Differences.
Waycott, J., Jones, A., & Scanlon, E. (2005). PDAs as lifelong learning tools: An activity theory based analysis. Learning, Media & Technology, 30(2), 107-130.
This paper describes the use of an activity theory (AT) framework to analyze the ways that distance part time learners and mobile workers adapted and appropriated mobile devices for their activities and in turn how their use of these new tools changed the ways that they carried out their learning or their work. It is argued that there are two key strengths in using an activity theory framework in this context. The first strength is the emphasis activity theory places on tools, including computer artifacts, as mediators of activity. This emphasis focuses attention on the activity itself rather than, for example, simply the interaction between the human and the computer. The focus is on the learner or user's objectives and activities and the computer is the tool through which the user achieves her objectives. The second strength was referred to briefly above. The AT perspective also enabled analysis of an interactive dynamic process of users or learners and their tools--in this case personal digital assistants (PDAs). It revealed a two way process in which the user adapts the tools they use according to their everyday practice and preferences in order to carry out their activities; and how, in turn, the tools themselves also modify the activities that the user is engaged in. Three case studies illustrate these processes. The first case study is of distance learners' use of e-books on PDAs, to supplement their access to other static media such as books and computers. The second case study investigated how mobile workers in the energy industry used mobile devices to access information when away from the office. The third and final case study investigated the use of mobile devices in an art gallery. The paper concludes with a discussion of the information access needs that are apparent in each of these learning contexts, and highlights the pertinent issues in the use of mobile technologies to support lifelong learners' information needs.
KEY WORDS: Arts Centers; Case Studies; Information Needs; Internet; Lifelong Learning; Telecommunications; Computers; Distance Education; Work Environment; Case Studies.
Williams, J. (2005). Skill as metaphor: An analysis of terminology used in "Success for All" and "21st Century Skills". Journal of Further and Higher Education, 29(2), 181-190.
This paper considers the significance of the term 'skills' in recent policy documents concerning the future developments of post-16 education. This paper argues that the skills debate, as outlined in "Success For All" and "21st Century Skills", comprises two dominant discourses: it is considered necessary for youngsters to gain skills for their personal employability and the nation's increased prosperity; and the acquisition of skills by students is judged vital for social inclusion and a coherent society. The documents present these dual objectives as being inextricably linked. Treating the signifier 'skill' as a metaphor helps expose the ideology behind the Labour Government's thinking on further education (FE). Skills are used to symbolize something of material worth, with a specific exchange value; a tangible product, like a natural resource; social capital; or education and learning. This paper deconstructs these four metaphorical uses of the term skills, within an analysis of "Success For All" and "21st Century Skills".
KEY WORDS: Employment Potential; Figurative Language; Adult Education; Social Capital; Skill Development; Education Work Relationship; Lifelong Learning.
Xie, B. (2007). Information technology education for older adults as a continuing peer-learning process: A Chinese case study. Educational Gerontology, 33(5), 429-450.
This article presents results from a study of information technology (IT) education among older adults in China. The study focused on major barriers encountered, and strategies used to overcome barriers to learning how to use computers and the Internet. 33 adults aged 50-79 (mean age 62.5) took part. All were participants in OldKids, an IT training organization in Shanghai that focuses on older adults. Grounded theory methods guided the data analysis, which suggests that lack of technical support was a major barrier to IT learning, yet it was also difficult to get support from younger people. Learning from age peers was found to be an effective way to learn about IT. While short-term computer classes helped orient participants, the author concludes that computer clubs that may last for years could provide much-needed continuous training.
KEY WORDS: Adult Education; Information Technology; Training; ICT; China; Grounded Theory; Older Adults; Lifelong Learning.
Other Topics in Learning and Work
Technological Change, Learning and Work
Abbott, L. (2005). The nature of authentic professional development during curriculum-based telecomputing. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 37(4), 379-398.
What do teachers learn about their teaching when their students engage in curriculum-based online learning projects? This qualitative study explores beliefs about on-the-job, profession-related learning - or "authentic professional development" - among eight teachers whose students participated in educational projects hosted by five well-established programs: The Electronic Emissary, iEARN, KidLink, ThinkQuest, and ThinkQuest Jr. Telecomputing alone does not change teachers' teaching styles. Instead, teachers who are innovative, inquiry based, and student centered may find telecomputing to be a useful tool for helping their students become more confident, self-directed learners.
KEY WORDS: Teaching Styles; Professional Development; Online Courses; Beliefs; Teacher Attitudes.
Aubert, P., Caroli, E., & Roger, M. (2006). New technologies, organisation and age: Firm-level evidence. Economic Journal, 116(509), 73-93.
This article explores the relationships among new technologies, innovative workplace practices and the age structure of the workforce in a sample of French firms. The article presents evidence that, in innovate firms, the wage-bill share of older workers is lower younger workers' is higher. This age bias affects both men and women, and is apparent within occupational groups. More detailed analysis of employment inflows and outflows shows that new technologies essentially affect older workers through reduced hiring opportunities. In contrast, organisational innovations mainly affect their probability of exit, which decreases much less than for younger workers following reorganization.
KEY WORDS: Innovation; Organization; Skill; Older Adults; Workers; Age Bias; Technological Change; Reorganization.
Bailey, J. D. (2007). Turning tacit knowledge into explicit knowledge: An ethnographic study of explicitation in an IT setting. Dissertation Abstracts International, A: The Humanities and Social Sciences, 67(8), 3053.
This study investigates the extraction, referred to as explicitation, and transfer of tacit knowledge through structured reflection, dialogue, and social interaction. Focused on investigating the individual and organizational causes and conditions that enhance or hinder the explicitation process, the study employs an ethnographic approach to gather experiential data from 12 colleagues within an information-technology consulting firm. A grounded-theory approach was used to cull insights from the interview transcripts and build an explicitation theory. The findings indicate that explicitation tends to be an individual phenomenon and may not spread into the organization without adequate organizational support systems. The author argues that once tacit knowledge is extracted and made explicit, it is circulated in social communities but will mean little unless members of communities share a collective context that enhances meaning and utility. Another factor that facilitates sharing noted by the author is trust. This study recommends that leaders create a culture and supporting learning and management systems that allow for more reflection, both individually and collectively.
KEY WORDS: Tacit Knowledge; Explicitation; Organizational Learning; Social Communities; Ethnography; IT; ICT; Social Networks.
Beckett, D., Agashae, Z., & Oliver, V. (2002). Just-in-time training: Techne meets phronesis. Journal of Workplace Learning, 114(8), 332-339.
New software and driven by internal budgets, managers' "just-in-time" is emerging as an interesting aspect of workplace learning, not least because it provokes re-consideration of adult learning, and perhaps of educative understanding itself.
KEY WORDS: Just-in-Time; Training; Management Development; Workplace Learning.
Braundy, M., O'Riley, P., Petrina, S., Dalley, S., & Paxton, A. (2000). Missing XX chromosomes or gender in/equity in design and technology education? The case of British Columbia. Journal of Industrial Teacher Education, 37(3), 54-92.
Presents data demonstrating the disproportionately low numbers of female technology teachers, teacher educators, and students in British Columbia. Discusses recruiting inequities, history of gendering in industrial technology classrooms, and resistance to gender-specific interventions. Outlines a technology education curriculum for all students.
KEY WORDS: Design; Enrollment; Foreign Countries; Higher Education; Secondary Education; Sex Discrimination; Sex Fairness; Student Recruitment; Teacher Education; Teacher Recruitment; Technology Education; Work and Learning.
Carr, M. (2001). Let me count the ways. Analyzing the relationship between the learner and everyday technology in early childhood. Research in Science Education, 31(1), 29-47.
Outlines four ways in which the relationship between the learner and everyday technology might be analyzed using early childhood studies as examples. The four individual-technology relationships are described as affording, anchoring, distributing, and appropriating.
KEY WORDS: Elementary Secondary Education; Higher Education; Learning Theories; Science and Society; Science Education; Technological Literacy; Technology Education; Work and Learning.
Clark, K. (2003). Using self-directed learning communities to bridge the digital divide. British Journal of Educational Technology, 34(5), 663-665.
This article describes the role played by self-directed learning communities to bridge the digital divide between those who have access to new information technologies and those who are not able to access the information. In terms of education digital equity means ensuring that every student has equitable access to advanced technologies, communication and information resources, and the learning experiences they provide. Research on the digital divide or digital equity is diffuse and typically appears in three forms: policy studies, theoretical considerations and societal impacts, and examination of patterns of use, on-line content, and the expressed needs. Given the lack of digital divide research solely dedicated to pedagogy, researchers should begin to examine the application of the lifelong learning framework in informal learning environments.
KEY WORDS: Self-directed Learning; Digital Divide; Information Technologies; Learning Environments; Information Resources; Learning Experiences; Lifelong Learning.
Clark, K. (2005). Serving underserved communities with instructional technologies. Urban Education, 40(4), 430-445.
The goal of this exploratory research study was to use the self-directed learning framework in a nonformal learning environment to determine how an underserved community would use technology. The factors that support self-directed learning in a nonformal learning environment were the ability to communicate, access information, and acquire knowledge. The primary focus was on the needs of the residents as learners; looking at why, when, what, and how community members wanted to involve technology in their learning and living. Residents identified needs that included issues related to housing, health care, child care, finances, education, and community unity.
KEY WORDS: Community Programs; Educational Technology; Nonformal Education; Access to Computers; Computer Uses in Education; Independent Study; Self Management; Low Income Groups.
Clegg, S. (2001). Theorising the machine: Gender, education and computing. Gender and Education, 13(3), 307-324.
The article provides a theoretical overview of the relationship between gender, education, & computing. It explores the role of education in the continued reproduction of computing, & latterly information communications technology, as masculine domains. Gendered social relations are inscribed into the development of computing technology & the ideological separation of the "expert" from end-users. The article offers a critique of the strong sociology of science & postmodernist analyses of technology for reducing technology to the social, & of technological determinism. It argues instead that we need to understand how computing is constituted historically & the ways computing can be understood as a concrete science. The article brings together perspectives on technology derived from a critical realist perspective with some aspects of the feminist standpoint paradigm. The author examines three key educational locales in the reproduction of gender ideologies of the machine. These are schools, universities, & the multiple sites of lifelong learning. The article concludes that the gendering of computing as a masculine discourse continues, & that the analysis of technology & the sociology of education needs to reconnect within a broader critique of society if women's continuing marginalization in the dominant discourse is to be understood & challenged.
KEY WORDS: Education; Computation; Sexual Inequality; Sociology of Science; Postmodernism; Feminism; Paradigms; Social Reproduction; Sociology of Education.
Cooper, C. D., & Kurland, N. B. (2002). Telecommuting, professional isolation and employee development in public and private organizations. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 23, 511-532.
This article employs a grounded theory methodology to compare the impact telecommuting has on public and private employees' perceptions of professional isolation. Ninety-three semi-structured interviews were conducted with telecommuters, non-telecommuters, and their respective supervisors (all aged 28-62 yrs) in 2 high technology firms and 2 city governments. These organizations had active telecommuting programs and a strong interest in making telecommuting a successful work option, providing an opportunity to investigate the challenges of telecommuting. The interviews demonstrate that professional isolation of telecommuters is inextricably linked to employee development activities (interpersonal networking, informal learning, and mentoring). The extent to which telecommuters experience professional isolation depends upon the extent to which these activities are valued in the workplace and the degree to which telecommuters miss these opportunities. Public respondents appeared to value these informal developmental activities less than private employees. Therefore, it is stipulated that telecommuting is less likely to hinder the professional development of public sector employees than that of employees in the private sector. A partial interview protocol and examples of codes are appended.
KEY WORDS: Telecommuting; Professional Isolation; Employee Development; Public Organizations; Private Organizations; Employee Perceptions.
Daugherty, M. K. (2003). Advancing excellence in technological literacy: Professional development standards. Technology Teacher, 63(3), 27-31.
Discusses the Standards for Technological Literacy: Content for the Study of Technology and their importance to the professional development of teachers. Includes an activity to be used to illustrate the role of design technology, explain the standards, and solves a problem likely to be encountered by teachers.
KEY WORDS: Design; Professional Development; Standards; Technological Literacy; Technology Education; Work and Learning.
Downes, S. (2001). The fragmentation of learning. Education Canada, 41(3), 4-7.
Information and communication technologies, especially the Internet, have vastly increased access to information and educational opportunities. Steadily increasing consumer demand is driving the development of online educational materials. The end result may be a "fragmentation" of learning involving multiple learning providers and delivery modes, where the autonomous learner chooses the learning experience that meets his or her needs.
KEY WORDS: Access to Information; Distance Education; Educational Demand; Educational Opportunities; Educational Trends; Informal Education; Information Technology; Internet; Learner Controlled Instruction; Personal Autonomy.
Gorard, S., & Selwyn, N. (2000). Investigating the role of technology in widening participation in lifelong learning. Final report. Retrieved July, 2006, from http://www.eric.ed.gov/
This small-grant funded project was intended to act as a pilot study looking at the use of information and communications technology (ICT) in adult education. In particular, the project aimed to investigate the use of ICT in extending patterns of participation in adult education to those social groups presently excluded from learning; one of the oft-stated rationales for the funding of such programs in the United Kingdom and United States. Over the course of the year, the project followed the development of the Digital College ICT-based program in Wales, alongside the concurrent implementation of the UK-wide national government initiatives the "University for Industry" and "learndirect." In doing so, a range of research instruments were developed, used and refined, primary and secondary data were collected and analyzed, and directions for future research formulated. The scope of the data collected allowed a series of tentative conclusions to be reached regarding the effectiveness of ICT-based education to achieve its aims. The overall preliminary finding from the project is the wide disparity between the enthusiastic rhetoric surrounding ICT-based education and the reality 'on-the-ground,' as it presently stands.