The Biographical Approach to Lifelong Learning

Authored by: Peter Alheit

The Routledge International Handbook of Learning

Print publication date:  December  2011
Online publication date:  May  2012

Print ISBN: 9780415571302
eBook ISBN: 9780203357385
Adobe ISBN: 9781136598562


 Download Chapter



‘Lifelong learning’ continues to be a somewhat diffuse term (see Field, 2000). On the one hand, it is obvious that we learn our whole lives long. From our first attempts at walking and talking, to familiarising ourselves with the old people's home, we experience new things, acquire new knowledge and new skills. We definitely cannot refuse learning. On the other hand, we do not know what ‘lifelong learning’ theoretically means. The following lines of thought are concerned with the conceptual side of lifelong learning. Interest centres here not on policies and institutions and also not on situative learning acts by isolated individuals, but on learning as the (trans-)formation of experience, knowledge and action structures in the context of people's life histories and lifeworlds (i.e. in a lifewide context). I therefore speak of ‘biographical learning’, by which I mean not so much sharply and empirically delineated entities – such as learning processes that are bound up with specific forms, locations or times – but rather a theoretical perspective on education and training that takes as its starting point the life history perspective of the actual learner (Krüger and Marotzki, 1995, 1999), in the sense of a phenomenological concept of learning (Schulze, 1993a, 1993b).

Search for more...
Back to top

Use of cookies on this website

We are using cookies to provide statistics that help us give you the best experience of our site. You can find out more in our Privacy Policy. By continuing to use the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.