Most times, learning is associated with formal education at school, college or higher institutions. However, formal education is only one facet of learning, since learning tends to be a continuous process as we develop, socialize and explore the world around us. Hence, learning can be a lifelong process which is possible when the necessary skills for lifelong learning is acquired and practiced. The Collins English dictionary (2014) described lifelong learning as the provision and practice of both formal and informal learning opportunities throughout people’s lives in order to nurture the continuous development and improvement of the knowledge and skills needed for employment and personal fulfillment. Also, Lifelong learning Council of Queensland (2016) below, explained lifelong learning as the purposeful and continuous acquisition of skills and knowledge throughout a person’s lifespan.
According to Head et al., (2015), the need for lifelong learning is fostered by the fast development of digital technologies. Hence, the contemporary age requires individuals to be digitally fluent and active in other to be successful in the age where digital technologies are relevant in every aspect of life.
Though lifelong learning is a continuous process which transcends to life after school,
school have a role to play in other to equip the students to face the life after school and to have a successful life in a digital age. Cohen (1975) emphasised the need for educational systems to become more flexible in other to meet the needs of lifelong learners living in the digital age. Educational institutions need to provide access for students to learn the skills needed to be successful in a digital age. UNESCO Education Strategy (2014-2012) below, explained that lifelong learning requires a paradigm shift from knowledge-conveying instruction to learning for personal development and from the acquisition of special skills in other to harness creative potentials. Therefore, schools need to emphasise in creative avenues for students to develop digital skills in other to become successful lifelong learners.
The Acquisition of digital skills such as mastering of the use of digital resources such as YOUTUBE, GOOGLE and other similar sources of information can engage students in lifelong learning. For example, YOUTUBE can engage individuals into lifelong learning by helping them learn how to solve different life problems. The use of GOOGLE can provide individuals with information about anywhere, any place and at any time thereby making them to become active lifelong learners in a digital age. Moreover, The Australian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (ACARA) (2010) emphasised on the need for students to be equipped with the skills to become lifelong learners. The Australian Curriculum stated;
“In the Australian Curriculum, students develop information and communication Technology (ICT) capability as they learn to use ICT effectively and appropriately to access, create and communicate information and ideas, solve problems and work collaboratively in all learning areas at school and in their lives beyond school” (ACARA, 2010).
The development of technology have made individuals to become digital citizens who are immersed into a stream of lifelong learning. Therefore, there is need for schools to have a shift in teaching process and provide a learning experience which will equip the students with the skills needed to become successful lifelong learners.