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Freedom to learn: a radically revised pedagogy to facilitate lifewide learning in the academic curriculum.

Cowan, John


John Cowan


Norman J Jackson


Higher education has progressed fairly steadily to a common pedagogical approach which centres on the idea of alignment. In this arrangement, intended learning outcomes are identified and declared; learning activities which will enable the desired learning and development to be achieved are conceived and undertaken with the support of appropriate and effective teaching; and assessment which calls for these outcomes is (ideally) carefully designed and implemented. All three elements are aligned in advance. The same principles and practices underpinned by notions of alignment have been applied to date in most of the purposeful schemes for personal development planning.

In this chapter I argue that lifewide learning, wherein learning and development often occur incidentally in multiple and varied real-world situations throughout an individual’s life course, calls for a different approach, and a different pedagogy. Higher education should therefore visualise lifewide learning as an emergent phenomenon wherein the outcomes of learning emerge later on, and are often unintended. Consequently, they cannot be defined in advance of the activities through which they are formed. The main purpose of this chapter is to offer some practical ideas to support the development of pedagogies that would enable programme designers to embed in their programmes the principle and practice of lifewide education.

Publication Date 2011
Deposit Date Sep 7, 2012
Publicly Available Date Sep 7, 2012
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Pages 122-136
Book Title Learning for a Complex World
ISBN 978-1456793708
Keywords Learning outcomes; educational activities; assessment;
Public URL
Contract Date Sep 7, 2012