Life long learning: Implications for curricular change and assessment

Thomas A. Litzinger, Rose M. Marra

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


EC 2000 brings lifelong learning to the forefront for engineering educators. In the past, our role in lifelong learning was primarily offering courses and degree programs for practicing engineers; now EC2000 demands that we prepare engineering students to engage in lifelong learning. These demands immediately raise a number of questions, including - What are the critical skills and attributes needed for lifelong learning? - What changes can be made in our curricula and approaches to teaching and learning that will develop these skills and attributes in our students? - How can we assess the extent to which our students have the ability to engage in lifelong learning and whether their abilities improve? In this paper, we build upon our earlier, preliminary review of the literature (Marra, et. al, 1999). We begin with a discussion of the characteristics of lifelong learners by Flammer, who suggested that two key categories were "will do" and "can do," referring to skills and attitudes necessary for lifelong learning (Flammer, 1978). These two categories are discussed in greater detail based upon more recent literature. Having identified key skills and attitudes for lifelong learning, we address three approaches to help students develop them and describe a recent implementation of one of the approaches in a junior level thermodynamics course. Finally, we discuss possible assessment methods, focusing on the Self-directed Learning Readiness Scale developed by Gugliemino (1978). Since its development, this instrument has been widely used to investigate students' self-concept as learners and their perception of their skills related to self-directed learning. Preliminary data from senior engineering students is presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4083-4090
Number of pages8
JournalASEE Annual Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - 2000
Event2000 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition: Engineering Education Beyond the Millenium - St. Louis, MO, United States
Duration: Jun 18 2000Jun 21 2000

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Engineering


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