Lifelong Learning and Cooperative Education

Conceptualizing Lifelong Learning Attributes
A review of the literature suggests that there are four central attributes to lifelong learners: (1) a passion for or
love of learning; (2) use of self-directed, proactive, or self-initiated learning strategies; (3) self-awareness; and (4)
resilience towards learning challenges.
Love of Learning. Lifelong learners love learning for its own sake (Hojat et al., 2006; Wielkiewicz & Meuwissen,
2014). They are emotionally tied to learning experiences and derive great pleasure from learning new things
(Deakin Crick et al., 2004; Kirby et al., 2010). The love they feel emanates from an internal – not external – source
(Hazari, Potvin, Tai, & Almarode, 2010).
Self-Direction. At the core of lifelong learning is self-direction (Field, 2001). Lifelong learners create their own
learning experiences and often create a plan or map for their own learning (Chen et al., 2012; Cournoyer &
Stanley, 2002; Deakin Crick et al., 2004) and use a number of behavioural strategies such as goal-setting (Kirby et
Refereed Proceedings of the 2nd International Research Symposium on Cooperative and Work-Integrated Education,
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada 50
al., 2010) and information seeking (Cropley & Knapper, 2000; Ross et al., 2011). Therefore, lifelong learners are
self-reliant, proactive, and in many ways entrepreneurial about their learning (Hojat et al., 2006).
Self-awareness. Lifelong learners also think about their learning experiences at a higher level which the literature
describes as self-awareness (Hojat et al., 2006; Kirby et al., 2010; Sim, 2003). This notion has conceptual
underpinnings in self-regulation and metacognition. It suggests that lifelong learners engage in certain
behaviours such as reflection as a mechanism for thinking about their own learning (Deakin Crick et al., 2004;
Deakin Crick et al., 2008; Tucshling, 2006). By reflecting on past learning experiences, lifelong learners can
evaluate how well they have learned in a given situation (Cropley & Knapper, 2000).
Resilience. Finally, lifelong learners are resilient. Resilience refers to the capacity to bounce back after a stressful
experience (Smith, Dalen, Wiggins, Tooler, Christopher, & Bernard, 2008). When lifelong learners face
challenges, they are not deterred. Rather, they persist or push through (Candy, Crebert, & O’Leary, 1994). They
do so by adapting their learning strategies to meet the problem at hand (Knapper & Cropley, 2000; Wielkiewicz
& Meuwissen, 2014).
1.I love to learn
2.I am very good at seeking and retrieving information
3.I frequently take time to reflect on my thoughts
4.I can apply my knowledge across a variety of situations and problems
5.I enjoy learning very much
6.If I discover a need for information that I don’t have, I know where to go to get it
7.I am usually aware of my thoughts
8.I adapt my thinking to the problems at hand
9.I am intrinsically motivated to learn
10.I often know where to look for solutions to complex problems
11.I can deal with the unexpected and solve problems as they arise
12.I’m looking forward to learning as long as I’m living

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