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UK Grand Challenges in Computing 08: Learning for Life

The challenge is to conceptualise what learning for life will be like in 2025 - will we recognise it?

Cloudscape created by:

Josie Taylor
9 March 2010

This Cloudscape provides a space within which we can consider the challenge facing the Grand Challenge No. 8: Learning for Life, i.e. can we conceptualise what learning for life will be like in 2025 - will we recognise it? Bringing together some of the key documents which can help shape this area, I hope we can open up some discussion themes that will contribute to our understanding of this complex, interdisciplinary topic.

One of the original statements when the Challenge was established in 2006 was as follows:

"With the emergence of mobile and ubiquitous computing, the semantic web and the development of an e-Research infrastructure, new possibilities open up for e-learning and learning for life that take us beyond what has been conceived in this area before. Indeed, to a large extent, the challenge here is to even conceptualise how learning environments and opportunities will manifest, how people will engage with learning events, and what learning for life will be like.

These new possibilities need to be understood in the context of our developing understanding of the co-evolutionary nature of learning and computing systems, so we ensure that the full potential of learning for life is realised. The future will involve much more than incrementally extending current models of teaching and learning: rather something of the order of a paradigm shift is required to halt the accretion of tools and environments that do little more than replicate face-to-face assumptions about teaching and learning, and which do very little to recognise the nature of learning for life.

 In order to do this we need to promote a strong interdisciplinary research agenda that brings together a broad range of previously disparate research traditions. This has already been recognised in the US, with the establishment of dedicated e-learning research centres[1] and NSF support for the “A tutor for every learner” Grand Challenge[2]. Similarly, the UK needs to develop and promote a dedicated Grand Challenge in learning for life that exploits the significant capacity within the UK to tackle the emerging research issues within this area."

 How valid is this now? Do we know more now than we did then? How are we pushing forward this agenda?

[1] Such as the Stanford Institute for Learning Sciences and Technologies (SILST)

[2] See            

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