Lifelong Learning in Europe
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Lifelong Learning in Europe

National Patterns and Challenges

Edited by Ellu Saar, Odd Bjørn Ure and John Holford

Combining qualitative and quantitative methods in a wide-ranging international comparative study, the book explores how far the EUs lifelong learning agenda has been successful and what factors have limited its ability to reshape national adult and lifelong learning systems. The chapters also look at adults’ participation in formal education, what they see as the obstacles to taking part, and the nature of their demand for learning opportunities.
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Chapter 8: In search of building blocks for lifelong learning: motivation and institutional support in Norwegian education and training

Odd Bjørn Ure and Bjørg Eva Aaslid


Contemporary EU policy-making for lifelong learning (LLL) tries to ‘build effective adult learning systems’ (European Commission 2009, p. 27) and to ‘modernise education and training systems’ (European Council 2010, p. 3). The Norwegian government equally announces in its annual education budget its intention to ‘further develop a national system for lifelong learning’. If these ambitions are to become reality, various education and training practices need to support the aims of LLL. Research on possible transformations of national education and training systems into a state of lifelong learning should look into the policy interventions behind the efforts to put the systems on an LLL track. It is equally pertinent to scrutinize agency mechanisms, for example how various actors, such as interest groups, promote or resist such transformations, which can lead to educational practices gradually forming patterns pointing towards the existence of building blocks of a lifelong learning system. In this chapter, we will concentrate on tracing motivational and institutional aspects that affect such LLL patterns. As we will detail below, it is assumed that LLL can be understood as an ‘organizational field’, composed of actors with their identities and roles. Our aim is to contribute to conceptual frameworks for analysing the institutional preconditions for learners’ life and learning trajectories and, in the last instance, to inform policy-makers in matters of lifelong learning. The main traits of our theoretical framework are illustrated in Figure 8.1.

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