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Legal educators’ perceptions of lifelong learning: conceptualisation and practice

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Lifelong learning appears frequently on university statements of desirable graduate outcomes. It is also referred to as a desirable outcome for Australian law graduates. This paper examines academic staff perceptions of lifelong learning as part of a broader study about assessment practices in a recently established Australian law school. Findings indicate that participants value lifelong learning, and that some of their perceptions of assessment principles and practice are broadly aligned with the lifelong learning paradigm. However, responses also indicate a lack of precision about how students’ capacity for lifelong learning ought to be developed, as well as a tendency for participants to conflate the ‘self-management’ component of lifelong learning with a more traditional, higher education concept of learner autonomy. The paper argues that imprecision and confusion about how to assess relevant skills and attributes will continue where lifelong learning is understood only in general terms, or as a sub-set of generic, graduate attributes. It therefore recommends that some unpacking of the concept be undertaken, at the institutional level, and that possible assessment models and exemplars be provided for the different lifelong learning domains, including: self-awareness; self-management and judgement; self-efficacy and motivation; and relevant generic graduate skills such as research and/or information literacy, critical thinking and problem solving.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Learning and Teaching Support, University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba, Australia 2: Faculty of Business and Law, University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba, Australia

Publication date: 2012-04-01

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