Review: The Lifelong Learning: “Globalisation, Lifelong Learning and Learning Society” (2007) by Peter Jarvis

Nowadays lifelong learning is a really common movement, especially in Europe. Peter Jarvis who wrote a book, called  “Globalisation, Lifelong Learning and Learning Society” (2007), spend a whole chapter to describe this new trend.

The author points out that globalization leads society to focus especially on economic knowledge which is why lifelong learning is inevitable. The author divides lifelong learning into two areas: firstly as a new social movement, secondly as a marketable commodity. Lifelong learning is a process of transforming experience into knowledge and skills. The result of this process is a more valuable workforce in the labor market. Unfortunately there is another side of lifelong learning. As Universities and other organizations would not admit, the potential of business is immense. A lot of employers send employees for some training, what actually makes them the customers even if they are not attending to them. The demand for an educated workforce by employers exists because of the market demands of efficiency and innovation. So that’s why the circle is closed and the market aspect in lifelong learning is inevitable.

In this article a lot of advantages and disadvantages of lifelong learning can be found. In the end it seems that there are more bad features than good ones. The author try to describe the reality of lifelong learning which is not always so obviously for the society. It is shown that some aspects of the lifelong learning don’t have a good influence for the society. The author tries to describe the reality while not being too judgmental, but in the end, mainly disadvantages are pointed out.

The statements from Peter Jarvis bear meaning especially for the following institutions and people: first of all  the government, which should be concerned about the future life of its inhabitants, secondly universities which should find a way to gain back the balance between education and business, thirdly the workforce who should consider if lifelong learning is worth the time it takes and finally the managers, who can find some useful information in this article.

The main aim of this article is to show every aspect of lifelong learning. Not only to describe what it exactly is about, but also to show the disadvantages and advantages of it. Hereby the author described many innovative aspects which are unknown for the majority of the people. It is visible that the creator of the book tries to describe two main areas of this new trend: lifelong learning as the new social movement and as marketable commodity. Peter Jarvis argues also with the thesis from Ball (1998, 36-41) “learning pays”.

In Europe lifelong learning is really common and a lot of people are involved in this topic, not only young people. Unlike the author, most of them consider this new trend as a possibility to get a better job. It is really hard to agree with the critical sound of this article. The author prepares his article very correctly and carefully, there is a lot of reference to other articles, a lot of them have the experiential base. The quality of this article is really good, but the value seems not to be so useful for the readers. It is very hard to say for whom this article would be helpful. The government, as the author mentioned before, doesn’t see anything bad in lifelong learning and neither do the universities as they make a lot of money with it. According to the author the workforce also benefit from this article, but actually most of the employers are thinking in the opposite way. Nowadays having only one degree without any other accreditation is not worth a lot on the labor market.

The only group who actually benefits from this article is the managers who are able maximize their profits knowing the possibilities shown by Peter Jarvis.

Beside all criticism the article explains what lifelong learning (LLL) is all about, the areas of LLL and the disadvantages and advantages. The first three features are well described, but the advantages are really seldom in the text. Even in the chapter “the value of the lifelong learning” the author pointed out more disadvantages than advantages.

Even if the arguments in some way are logical and reasonable it is very hard to believe that the author of the article is correct in his statements. Nowadays lifelong learning is something normal and acceptable in Europe, a lot of young people know that if they want to get better jobs that they have to do more than only study, and the employees if they want to keep their job or get a better one they need to learn for a whole life. It is really hard to accept the thinking that lifelong learning is a commodity because the workforce doesn’t care about this. So the theory of a bad side of LLL seems to be another sociologist fiction which should provide money for the author.

It is very hard to recommend this article to anyone. The only two good things mentioned are: that people should learn for their entire life and that lifelong learning is essential to be grown and developed. The second thing which is worthwhile to underline is the fact that the level of teaching in the educational places has decreased, and because of that something which was good in past is not there anymore. So maybe if the professors and teacher will read this article something