Work and Lifelong Learning Resource Base

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Work and Lifelong Learning Resource Base

Materials for Teaching, Research and Policy Making

Principal Investigator: David W. Livingstone
Team Members:
M. Raykov, K. Pollock, F. Antonelli

CHAPTER 4: Work and Learning [PDF]


4.9. Work and Learning through the Adult
        Life Course


1. Antikainen, A., & Komonen, K. (2003). Biography, life course, and the sociology of education. In C. A. Torres & A. Antikainen (Eds.), The international handbook on the sociology of education: An international assessment of new research and theory (pp. 143-159). Lanham US: Rowman & Littlefields.


            After the publication of Florian Znaniecki's and William Thomas's, The Polish Peasant in Europe and America (1918-20), many researchers of the Chicago School studied the “social mosaic” of the changing American society by using a variety of methods, such as participant observation, open or semistructured interviews and life history. In the decades following World War II, the life history method lost much of its prominence. It was not until the 1980s that life history returned to the sociology of education, this time in the context of the growing interest in the biographical method in sociology in general.


            KEY WORDS: Life History; Biographies; Sociological Research; Sociology of Education; Research Methodology; History of Sociology.


2. Aro, M. R., Risto; Lahti, Kati; Olkinuora, Erkki. (2005). Education or learning on the job? Generational differences of opinions. International Journal of Lifelong Education, 24(6), 459-474.


            In this article, we are interested in what kind of opinions people belonging to different generations have on work experience and formal education. Mannheim's theory on generations is used as a general frame of reference. The questions asked in the article are: is education appreciated more by young people who have been able to participate in it on a large scale, or by older people to whom further education often remained an unfulfilled dream? Do older people put more emphasis on work experience, because on average they have much more work experience than schooling? The starting point of the article is that the changing educational circumstances have arguably shaped the thinking and world view of generations, and their opinions on formal education and work experience. In addition, the value of education as a currency on the labour market has changed continuously.


            KEY WORDS: Foreign Countries; Opinions; Work Experience; Labor Market; Education; Work Relationship; Age Differences; Work Attitudes; Educational Attitudes; Educational Attainment.


3. Bates, M. J., & Norton, S. (2002). Educating Rita: An examination of the female life course and its influence on women's participation in higher education. New Horizons in Adult Education, 16(3), 4 - 12.


            The occurrence of 7 life events within the last 2 years and the top three 3 reasons for return were identified by 61 women returning to higher education. Motivations clustered in the following categories: financial improvement, personal goals and aspirations, self-fulfilment/self-esteem, and family considerations.


            KEY WORDS: Adult Education; Females; Higher Education; Life Events; Motivation; Participation; Reentry Students.


4. Dominicâe, P. (2000). Learning from our lives: Using educational biographies with adults (1st ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.


            This nine-chapter book, written in Europe by a French-speaking Swiss educator, explores the rationale for using educational biography approaches in adult education and presents examples that illustrate various uses of these life history activities. Chapter 1 provides an introduction and overview of educational biography, and Chapter 2 describes practitioners' experience with major educational biography approaches, including written and oral narratives. Chapter 3 presents a review of the literature, concentrating on examples of educational biography approaches that occur in particular contexts and address particular themes. Chapter 4 explores how adults educate themselves in various settings, including family and school. The main theme of Chapter 5 is adults' ways of thinking as men and women functioning in family, school, and workplace, and the influence of various subcultures. Learners' needs and motivations are the focus of Chapter 6, and, in Chapter 7, the main theme is helping learners name their experiences and their world and deal with issues that emerge from this interpretation. Chapter 8 addresses how educational biography can help adult learners gain a new understanding of evaluation by examining the power relationships that influence education and educational goals, the uses of evaluation decisions, and formative evaluation as interpretation. Chapter 9 concludes with a discussion of ways of creating conditions for successful adult learning based on the main themes raised by the educational biography approach.


            KEY WORDS: Adult Basic Education; Adult Education; Adult Learning; Adult Students; Autobiographies; Biographical Inventories; Empowerment; Family Influence; Informal Education; Learning Theories; Personal Narratives; Postsecondary Education; Self Disclosure (Individuals); Self Evaluation (Individuals); Self Expression; Social Influences; Student Motivation; Teaching Methods; Writing Instruction.


5. Drentea, P. (2002). Retirement and mental health. Journal of Aging & Health, 14(2), 167-194.


            Examines whether retirement is associated with mental health and how daily pursuits mediate this association. It tests 2 perspectives from the sociology of work and mental health. Using data from 2 surveys, the 1995 Aging, Status, and Sense of Control and the 1987-1988 National Survey of Families and Households, regression analysis was used to examine retirement, activities, and well-being. In support of the view that work is alienating and retirement liberating, retirees experienced less anxiety and distress and higher positive affect. Retirees' lower anxiety and distress were explained by activity characteristics. In support of the view that work is empowering and retirement demoralizing, retirement is associated with lower sense of control in both data sets. Retirement was not associated with depressive symptomatology. Suggestions for creating opportunities that enhance well-being are discussed.


            KEY WORDS: Interpersonal Interaction; Mental Health; Retirement; Well Being.


6. Elman, C., & O'Rand, A. M. (2002). Perceived job insecurity and entry into work-related education and training among adult workers. Social Science Research, 31(1), 49-76.


            The authors attach the 1995 Adult Education Data File to Bureau of Labor Statistics data to examine the structural conditions under which adult workers (ages 35-61) perceive their jobs to be insecure. They then examine whether concerns about job loss motivate adult workers to participate in further education, after controlling for the already established effects of human capital, contemporaneous life course roles, minority status, & other labor market conditions. The authors find that the perceived job insecurity of both advantaged & disadvantaged categories of workers are affected by labor market factors, but in different ways. On the one hand, ethnic minorities, union members, workers without employee benefits, & workers in restructuring sectors are explicitly more concerned about job insecurity. On the other hand, workers in once-advantaged stratification categories demarcated by higher education, more job experience, gender (male), & seniority (age) do not perceive significantly less job insecurity than other workers & thus are no more protected from these concerns. Adult work-related educational participation reflects perceived insecurity & industrial restructuring more than prior human capital or competing life course roles.


            KEY WORDS: Adults; Workers; Labor Market; Human Capital; Adult Education; Vocational Education; Education Work Relationship; Occupational Structure; United States of America.


7. Fisher, M. (2003). Informal learning of seniors in Canadian society. NALL Working Paper No.70. Toronto: Centre for the Study of Education and Work, OISE/UT. Available at:


            Informal learning by Canadian seniors was examined through semi-structured interviews with a purposefully selected group of 51 older Canadians (28 women and 23) who ranged in age from 58 to 95 years (average age, 73.7). All were retired or semi-retired, and all had engaged in several learning projects over the previous year in topics such as the following: self-knowledge, health, relationships, current affairs, social justice, history, spirituality, the arts, philosophy, computers, homemaking, and genealogy. Equal numbers of interviewees preferred learning alone and learning in groups. A few preferred one-on-one coaching or dialogue. When asked about their methods of learning, the interviewees mentioned learning by doing (32 times), by reading (33 times), through discussion (35 times), by watching (26 times), and by listening (27 times). The resources they used depended on topic and circumstances, with print media, people, and computers being mentioned by 44, 32, and 14 interviewees, respectively. Thirty-five adults stated that learning had always been important to them. Most participants were enthusiastic about the contributions that learning made to their lives, with 20 describing it as vital to their survival. Thirty-one interviewees stated that they spent more time on learning now than in their younger years, and 11 said they spent less time learning now than previously.


            KEY WORDS: Access to Education; Adult Education; Adult Learning; Education Work Relationship; Educational Attitudes; Educational Benefits; Educational Opportunities; Educational Trends; Independent Study; Informal Education; Interviews; Learning Motivation; Learning Processes; Lifelong Learning; National Surveys; Older Adults; Outcomes of Education; Participation; Trend Analysis; Canada; Learning Patterns.


8. Gorard, S. (2003). Patterns of work-based learning. Journal of Vocational Education & Training, 55(1), 47-63.


            Data from a South Wales study (n=1,104) and British adult learner survey (n=5,885) found little clear evidence supporting the economic imperative for lifelong learning. Policies have not resulted in increased training opportunities. Many employers are not supporting work-based learning; participation is largely predictable from individuals' social and family characteristics.


            KEY WORDS: Educational Opportunities; Foreign Countries; Influences; Participation; Predictor Variables; Public Policy; Sociocultural Patterns; Training.


9. Gould, A. (2003). Study leave in Sweden. Studies in the Education of Adults, 35(1), 68-84.


            Analysis of statistics since 1994 on the use of study leave as allowed by a 1974 Swedish law indicates that about 1% of the work force takes leave at any time. Women and manual workers benefit more than men and salaried workers. Leave application causes employees few problems with employers but financial assistance is a concern.


            KEY WORDS: Financial Support; Foreign Countries; Leaves of Absence; Legislation; Lifelong Learning; Public Policy.



10. Halliday, J., & Soden, R. (2000). Rethinking vocational education: A case study in care. International Journal of Lifelong Education, 19(2), 172-182.


            This article describes the reflections of 25 adults from the United Kingdom who returned to formal education. Results supported the argument that vocational institutions should attempt to develop broader student interests rather than trying to improve the relevance of vocational knowledge.


            KEY WORDS: Foreign Countries; Life Events; Reentry Students; Technical Institutes; Vocational Education.



11. Heinz, W. R. (2002). Self-socialization and post-traditional society. Advances in Life Course Research, 7, 41-64.


            In evaluating the continued utility of the concept of socialization, the author argues that macrosocial transformation forces in modern societies have decreased the influence of the family, school, work, & other social institutions as socializing agents, as they were in traditional societies. Nonetheless, the concept can still be valuable if it is used in conjunction with an appreciation of the enhanced position of the individual in modern society & the continuity of the socialization process across the life course. After exploring the ascendancy of the individual & the individualization of the self in post-traditional societies, the author examines the idea of "self-socialization." In contrast to the traditional process by which external norms & values were internalized through contact with or the intervention of external social agents, self-socialization describes the process by which individuals acquire an internal system of values & set their own life course through learning from & coming to terms with their own actions & their consequences. The concept captures the interaction between individual intentions, actions, & self-identity across changing social contexts throughout the life course. Some preliminary research results are presented that describe the utility of the self-socialization concept through an analysis of "biographical agency" in a study of individual work transitions.


            KEY WORDS: Socialization; Life Cycle; Socialization Agents; Modern Society; Individual Collective Relationship; Internalization; Norms.



12. Helterbran, V. R. (2005). Lifelong or school-long learning: A daily choice. Clearing House: A Journal of Educational Strategies, Issues and Ideas, 78(6), 261.


            Many districts have a vision or mission statement that includes the importance of lifelong learning. The alternative, school-long learning, is exemplified by curricula and instruction that are generally only useful while the student is in school; it does little to stimulate or fulfill that element in those who find pleasure in the process and the end result of the accomplishment of a learning goal. Here, the author presents the so called Three As. In this era of the Three As - Achievement, Accountability, and Assessment - finding educators immersed in a state of the Three Cs - Concern, Consternation, and Confusion - is a typical occurrence. The beauty of teaching for lifelong learning while trying to accomplish the benchmarks of state standards is that in many ways both of these goals are compatible, overlapping, and of mutual benefit. The most critical element in promoting lifelong learning in the classroom is to assure that everyone are lifelong learners. According to Theodore Sizer and Nancy Sizer (1999), teaching that promotes lifelong learning involves skilled professionals who know that the best learning is learning where students are invested in their work because it is interesting and relevant. A congruence between the planning, implementing, and assessing of instruction is crucial in effective teaching and learning. Feedback that is prompt, meaningful, and gives students an opportunity to rethink and rework the errors of their efforts is another strategy instrumental in focusing on the learning process. Positive and practical habits of the mind are the bedrock of one becoming a lifelong learner. Educators have a unique opportunity to strengthen and promote this in students. Regardless of all other issues that present themselves with such urgency during a school day, in the grand scheme of things the chief and overriding purpose is the achievement of the students and success in instilling lifelong learning skills. Both constitute the bottom line for the students| to enjoy a fulfilling, purposeful, and satisfying experience during their short time with educators in the school setting and for the remainder of their lives. Lifelong learning or school-long learning - the choice is made in schools daily by word and deed.


            KEY WORDS: Position Papers; Lifelong Learning; Teaching Styles; Feedback; Student Interests; Congruence (Psychology); Relevance (Education); Study Habits; State Standards; Academic Standards; Teacher Effectiveness; Academic Achievement; Student Evaluation.



13. Hill, E. T. (2001). Post-school-age training among women: Training methods and labor market outcomes at older ages. Economics of Education Review, 20(2), 181-190.


            Uses the NLS Mature Women's Cohort to examine Labor Market effects of education and training at preretirement age. Younger, more educated women tend to train more than older women. On-the-job training is more strongly associated with wage growth than is formal education.


            KEY WORDS: Education Work Relationship; Elementary/ Secondary Education; Females; Higher Education; Labor Force; Middle Aged Adults; Participation; Salary Wage Differentials; Training; National Longitudinal Survey Mature Women.


14. Hoerder, D. (2001). Reconstructing life courses: A historical perspective on migrant experiences. In V. Marshall, W. Heinz, H. Kruger & A. Verma (Eds.), Restructuring work and the life course (pp. 525-539). Toronto: University Press.


            The connection between linearity, sequence normality, and the concept of work as only paid work results in a weak life-course analysis. This is clear when the lives of two Polish immigrant families living in Canada are looked at. These families, which became linked by marriage, depended on many different avenues to achieve integration & economic survival. The families were willing to relocate to find work, diversify to enlarge their income, obtain new skills, & develop coping strategies in their efforts to make a living. The case study also demonstrates that human capital (identity-formation, training, education) & social capital (job availability & community support) influence the options available to individuals & families. In addition, it is evident that individual decisions are constrained by political processes, economic cycles, societal factors, & luck.


            KEY WORDS: Canada; Immigrants; Human Capital; Socioeconomic Factors; Labor Force Participation; Cultural Capital; Slavic Cultural Groups.


15. Lawy, R., & Bloomer, M. (2003). Identity and learning as a lifelong project: Situating vocational education and work. International Journal of Lifelong Education, 22(1), 24-42.


            Interviews focused on the learning of two British young adults examined processes of identity transformation and transition to work. Their experiences suggest that technical/rational educational approaches fail to meet developmental needs and are inadequate for prevocational, vocational, and lifelong learning. Curriculum should focus on the agency of the learner as a driving force.


            KEY WORDS: Economic Change; Education Work Relationship; Educational Change; Foreign Countries; Individual Development; Postsecondary Education; Student Needs; Vocational Education; Young Adults.


16. Linn, P. L., Ferguson, J., & Egart, K. (2004). Career exploration via cooperative education and lifespan occupational choice. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 65(3), 430-447.


            Career exploration by Antioch College students who graduated between 1946 and 1955 (N=73) was studied to determine relationships between the occupational categories of cooperative education jobs taken in college (obtained from a campus archive) and subsequent work histories (obtained from surveying the graduates at about 70 years). Five hypotheses were tested. Results supported four of the hypotheses, with partial support for the fifth. Co-op jobs taken by the sample represented each of 23 occupational classifications, and most graduates took post-graduate jobs in occupational functions and contexts they had explored as co-op students. High levels of individuality in use of the co-op program and in career paths were found. Four co-op-to-career patterns were described, based on the degree to which functions and contexts were explored during college and career; a case study was included to exemplify each pattern. Gender differences were revealed in the patterns, but not the group data. Job context was particularly important in defining these patterns. Implications for research and practice were discussed tentatively, however given the lack of a control group, characteristics of the study sample, and particularities of the historical era studied, the ability to generalize beyond the study sample is limited.


            KEY WORDS: Career Exploration; Cooperative Education; Career Choice; College Graduates; Hypothesis Testing; Gender Differences; Lifelong Learning; Career Education; Work Environment; Gender Differences.


17. Lutfey, K., & Mortimer, J. T. (2003). Development and socialization through the adult life course. In J. DeLamater (Ed.), Handbook of Social Psychology (pp. 183-204). New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum.


            In this chapter, the authors consider varied definitions of socialization, how the concept is tied to fundamental sociological issues, and how its original conceptualizations provided a framework for later investigations. Specifically, the authors focus on socialization through the adult life course, with emphasis on heterogeneity and contingency in life experiences. To develop a theoretical and methodological perspective that is sensitive to temporality, the authors call attention to individuals' biographies and temporal orientations, as well as historical variability in the ways people adapt to new social roles and circumstances. While the authors touch on themes deriving from early work on childhood and adolescent socialization, the primary focus is on adult socialization, or that which occurs after the completion of general education, whether secondary school or college.


            KEY WORDS: Adult Development; Life Experiences; Psychosocial Development; Socialization.


18. Marshall, V. W., & Mueller, M. M. (2002). Rethinking social policy for an aging workforce and society: Insights from the life course perspective. Ontario: Canadian Policy Research Networks.


            Canadian population trends were examined from a life course perspective to identify needed social policy changes. First, the following principles underpinning the life course perspective were discussed: (1) aging involves biological, psychological, and social processes; (2) human development and aging are lifelong processes; (3) individuals' and cohorts' life courses are embedded in and shaped by historical time and place; (4) the antecedents and consequences of life transitions and events vary according to their timing in a person's life; (5) lives are lived interdependently; and (6) individuals construct their own life courses through the choices and actions they take within the opportunities and constraints of history and social circumstances. Next, the following policy domains were analyzed from the life course perspective: (1) education, the transition to employment, and lifelong learning; (2) family and the relationship between work and family; (3) work-to-retirement transitions; (4) income security in the later years; and (5) intergenerational relations and social cohesion. It was recommended that Canadian policymakers responsible for public, corporate, union, and educational policy focus on the increasing inequality that develops over the life course, avoid the error of assuming a model life course, and move toward consideration of need rather than age.


            KEY WORDS: Adult Day Care; Age Differences; Age Groups; Aging (Individuals); Career Development; Child Care; Definitions; Educational Policy; Employment Practices; Family Caregivers; Family-Work Relationship; Foreign Countries; Geriatrics; Income; Individual Development; Labor Force Development; Life Events; Literature Reviews; Older Adults; Policy Formation; Population Trends; Position Papers; Research Design; Retirement; Retirement Benefits; Social Change; Social Environment; Social Science Research; Theory Practice Relationship; Canada; Income Security; Life Course; Life Span Development; Population Aging; Social Policy.


19. McAndrew, P., Clow, D., Taylor, J., & Aczel, J. (2004). The evolutionary design of a knowledge network to support knowledge management and sharing for lifelong learning. British Journal of Educational Technology, 35(6), 739-746.


            Knowledge Management (KM) and knowledge sharing are important factors that support lifelong learning, and enable people to continue developing throughout their careers. The concept of a Community of Practice (Wenger, 2000) is attractive in drawing together people whose work shares similar aspects, and consideration is given here to how technology can be used to develop and support such a community. In this paper, concepts from the Community of Practice literature are used to consider the development of a software environment for people working as a community in the area of lifelong learning. The intention was to design the system in an evolutionary way, using a minimal set of essential elements which would be elaborated according to user feedback. Three key design questions are considered: Who can contribute resources to such a system? What happens to existing practices? How is the community engaged? We conclude that, in lifelong learning, knowledge management supported by a software environment offers a good way to bring together communities, resources and experience, but to achieve these benefits, great care needs to be exerted in introducing the system and maintaining existing work practices.


            KEY WORDS: Educational Technology; Computer Software; Lifelong Learning; Systems Development; Information Management.


20. Pillay, H., Boulton-Lewis, G., Wilss, L., & Lankshear, C. (2003). Conceptions of work and learning at work: Impressions from older workers. Studies in Continuing Education, 25(1), 95-111.


            Interviews with 39 workers over 40 addressed their conceptions of work (job, challenging experience, personal empowerment, life-structuring device) and of learning at work (acquiring survival skills, observing/experiencing, taking courses, learning lifelong, and changing personally). Their conceptions were mostly incongruent with their levels in the Australian Qualifications Framework.


            KEY WORDS: Credentials; Educational Attitudes; Foreign Countries; Middle Aged Adults; Work Attitudes.


21. Pitawanakwat, J. (2001). Informal learning culture through the life course: Initiatives in Native organizations and communities. NALL Working Paper No. 40. Toronto: Centre for the Study of Education and Work, OISE/UT. Available at:


            Traditional Ojibway education is currently being delivered by eight First Nations communities on Manitoulin Island and the north shore of Lake Huron, in Ontario. Integration into the formal school system, with the exception of language programs, is not formally established. Elders and traditional teachers are only invited by individual teachers. Integration of the formal education system into the traditional Ojibway system also takes place, through field trips, albeit to a limited extent. Cultural knowledge is transmitted via one-to-one transmission, home-based learning, talking circles, community cultural events, workshops and conferences, and traditional Ojibway institution-based learning. Traditional educational approaches are profoundly different from those of the mainstream educational system. Wholistic (physical, mental, spiritual, emotional) growth and development of the person, experiential learning, oral tradition, and student-centeredness are key elements of the traditional approach. Further, and of vital importance, is the fact that education is grounded in spirituality. Western mainstream education has a narrower scope in that it emphasizes intellectual development to the exclusion of other dimensions. There are a number of concerns related to integrating informal Native education into the formal education system. These include research methodologies utilized; protection of cultural and intellectual property rights; and recognition of traditional indigenous knowledge, traditional teachers, and elders.


            KEY WORDS: American Indian Education; Canada Natives; Chippewa (Tribe); Cultural Education; Cultural Maintenance; Educational Practices; Foreign Countries; Holistic Approach; Intellectual Property; Lifelong Learning; Nonformal Education; Tribally Controlled Education; Odawa (Tribe); Ontario; Potawatomi (Tribe).


22. Rae, D. (2005). Mid-career entrepreneurial learning. Education & Training, 47(8-9), 562-574.


            Recent research on entrepreneurship education has emphasised school, college and university students, with less attention being paid to entrepreneurial learning among people in older age groups. However the ageing population of the UK and other developed countries means that there is a need for an increasing proportion of the existing working population, from a broad social and demographic background, to develop entrepreneurial skills in mid-career in order to find new opportunities for economic activity and to extend their working lives. This goal requires better understanding of the learning needs and processes of mid-career entrepreneurs MCEs between the ages of 35 and 55. This article aims to enhance the understanding of mid-career entrepreneurial learning by exploring how and why people develop entrepreneurial skills in mid-career, how these skills are deployed in working on opportunities, what types of learning are most effective, and conclusions for the design of MCE learning experiences. A research method was used with emergent MCEs participating in a postgraduate entrepreneurship module. This evaluated learning, skill acquisition and practice to inform both learner and educator. This paper explores the types of opportunities identified and the learning methods used. It proposes implications for mid-career learners based on a framework for entrepreneurial learning, in the context of the broader perspectives of mid-career and mid-life change and development. It develops a career stage model for entrepreneurship, and discusses the implications for the design of learning programmes for MCEs. MCEs have enhanced lifelong and work-based learning and experience compared with younger people, but display great variety in their aspirations, work and career experience, educational attainment, ethnic and national diversity, and participation in social networks. The article proposes ways o| f enhancing mid-career entrepreneurial learning. This paper makes a distinctive contribution to the understanding of entrepreneurial learning in a significant age group.


            KEY WORDS: Entrepreneurship; Business Education; Skill Development; Adult Education; Learning Strategies; Lifelong Learning; Adults; Educational Opportunities; Foreign Countries; Career Development.


23. Schaie, K. W., & Elder, G. H. (2005). Historical influences on lives and aging. New York: Springer.


            This book focuses on the ways in which the life course of individuals is affected by the historical contexts in which they live. The editors, along with contributors, explore the following pivotal concerns: how historical changes, such as immigration, affect the life course; the impact of historical transitions within societies, such as the collapse of the Soviet Union; the linking mechanisms, such as how coming of age in wartime affected young people during World War II. One of the goals of this book is to help readers gain a better understanding of the immediate and long-range effects of historical events on lives and aging.


            KEY WORDS: Life Cycle; Human Social Aspects; Life Change Events; Social Change Psychological Aspects; Emigration and Immigration; Developmental Psychology; Social Psychology; Aging.


24. Sohnesen, T. P., & Blom, A. (2005). Is formal lifelong learning a profitable investment for all of life? How age, education level, and flexibility of provision affect rates of return to adult education in Colombia. Washington: DC: New Economics Paper.


            Lifelong learning is a primary factor for knowledge diffusion and productivity growth in Colombia. With no long-term longitudinal data, the authors estimate rates of return for simulated re-entry into the education system; the findings suggest that adult formal education initiatives should focus on twenty through forty year olds and be designed flexibly to allow for part- time work.


            KEY WORDS: Education; Adult; Colombia; Equity; Teaching and Learning; Gender; Primary Education; Tertiary Education.


25. 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.


26. 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.


27. 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.


28. 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.





About the CFI Project

1. General Resources
for Work & Learning

2. Work

3. Learning

4. Work & Learning

   4.1 General Perspectives

   4.2 Formal Training

   4.3 Informal Learning

   4.4 Unpaid Work

   4.5 Education-Job Match

   4.6 Power Relations

   4.7 Labour Unions

   4.8 School-to-Work


   4.9 Life Course Learning

5. Other Topics in
Learning & Work


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