Seamus Fox (Dublin City University): Lifelong learning and distance education

Seamus began his presentation by outlining a range of technologies which are greatly improving the quality and versatility of distance learning. Within the context of lifelong learning, the use of online technologies means learning can be accessed by a large range of learners and be tailored to specific needs. There has been an exponential growth in online programmes especially in North America and Australia.


The same level of growth has not yet been seen in Ireland despite the quantifiable pent-up demand. He posited that the main reason for this is that higher education funding mechanisms discriminate against part-time learners, in general, and distance learners, in particular. Another reason, he argued, is the institutional structure of Irish higher education. In terms of undergraduate study, Irish higher education is currently focused primarily on the secondary school leaving cohort. Seamus detailed a number of organisational and cultural changes which would be required to ensure Irish higher education fully embraces lifelong learning.
 

(Click here to view Seamus' presentation in full)

 

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