The worldwide diffusion and institutionalization of lifelong learning:
MetadataShow full item record
This study examined the worldwide diffusion and institutionalization of lifelong learning between 1996 and 2015.Using data from UNESCO National Reports on Adult Learning and Education, this study documented the diffusion patterns and investigated factors that influenced the diffusion of lifelong learning policies. The study found that 73% of countries (N=151) adopted lifelong learning policies between 1996 and 2015. The result also revealed that the adoption of lifelong learning rapidly increased during the earlier period (between 1996 and 2007), and then the growth rate leveled off during the later period (after 2007). Many European countries adopted lifelong learning policies during the earlier period; however, a number of low and low-middle income countries in Africa, Latin American, and the Caribbean also adopted lifelong learning policies during this period of time. Among various policy components including basic education, vocational education, adult education, and lifelong learning, 39% of countries adopted at least one out of the four components, while 33% adopted more than one of the policy approaches. Basic education and adult education were two components adopted by the largest number of countries. The results of event history analyses of factors that influenced the diffusion process showed that economic and political development had positive effects on the diffusion of lifelong learning policies but only during the earlier period (from 1996 to 2007). In addition, global and regional density, organizational linkage to world society, and participation in international meetings showed positive effects on the diffusion of lifelong learning, specifically during the later period (after 2007). These findings support the relevance of both modernization theory and sociological institutionalism in understanding the diffusion of lifelong learning. Lastly, the findings suggest that although international organizations play critical roles in disseminating the overarching policy framework of lifelog learning, the way in which the discourse is interpreted and translated into policy varies, depending on national contexts.