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Published by the Learning and Teaching Unit
Summer 2003
ISSN 1477-1241
Learning and Teaching in Action logo

Vol 2 Issue 2: Flexible and Lifelong Learning

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Brian Murphy

Lifelong Learning: the agenda and the response
Rob Halsall

Flexible Learning within MMU: Working smarter not harder
Fred Lockwood

"What the ..@#~* PDP* < $*|>.. is going on ?"
Trevor Williamson

How adults really learn- or what we think we know about how they learn!
Jane Artess

'Transformative' Models for Learning, Teaching and Academic Professional Development - A 'Self-ish' Approach
Shaheena Abbas

Developing a Departmental Employability Strategy
Chrissie Gibson

The eUniversity
David Lambrick

Skills for Lifelong Learning: A Progress Report
Louise Willmot

Professional Modern Apprenticeships
Vic Leyden

Lifelong Learning Means You Too
Hannah Peace

Faculty Learning and Teaching Reports

Learning and Teaching News from the Library

photo of Brian Murphy

Brian Murphy
Department of Chemistry and Materials


Learning is natural. We do it with our eyes closed; we do it all our lives. In the course of a lifetime, every action and reaction incrementally conditions us. Education, however, is to learn with our eyes open.

It is to take control and influence the future; to help ourselves and others to be in a position to get to a position. In this sense, lifelong learning is about keeping our eyes wide open.

We do not stop often enough to reflect on the pace at which our lives change. When Einstein proved that time progresses more slowly for travelling observers, he was certainly not considering the illusion of slow change that we can experience when moving through our complex lives. But the world does move inexorably forward. Was it merely a few years ago when you were last able to manage without a mobile phone? In a rapidly changing world, education is a lifelong reality.

The John Dalton site of my home department, the Department of Chemistry and Materials, carries the name of one of the 19th Century’s pioneers of Chemical Science. Indeed, the City of Manchester will pay its civic respects in October to the 200th anniversary of his Atomic Theory, which he presented (as an addendum!) to the Manchester Literary and Philosophical Society. He was primarily a school teacher and a chemist in his spare time. Forever learning. When reflecting on the historical transition of my subject of Chemistry - as it progressed from the First Age of Dalton’s era through the Second Age of the 20th Century, when we learned how to tailor-make molecules, to the present Twenty-First Century Third Age, where we design ‘clever’ materials to underpin new technologies and modern lifestyles - I am struck by the change that learning in all its facets has engendered over the equivalent of just three lifelong-learning eras.

In society, the summative effect of generations of lifelong learning can be an irresistible force. The presence of higher education systems in all advanced societies recognises both this and the future prosperity that can go hand-in-hand with a highly skilled workforce. For us, the recent White Paper charts the future of higher education for the rest of most of our professional lives. Lifelong learning and flexible learning feature prominently. Such is their importance globally that it is safe to conclude that these issues will outlive changes in national governments.

And so to this edition of Learning and Teaching in Action. Under the theme of Flexible and Lifelong Learning, the articles diffract this substantial continuum into a rainbow of complementary colours of professional engagement at MMU. Whether you’re involved in teaching, training or academic strategy there is a ‘colour’ in these pages for you. I hope you will be motivated to paint some of the lifelong learning of the authors onto your own canvas.

My thanks are extended to the authors for their contributions and to Rachel Forsyth, the resident editor, for the rewarding experience that this guest editing has been.

Brian Murphy
telephone: 0161 247 1428


July 2003
ISSN 1477-1241

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