Lifelong Learning, Welfare and Mental Well-being into Older Age: Trends and Policies in Europe

  • John FieldEmail author
Part of the Education in the Asia-Pacific Region: Issues, Concerns and Prospects book series (EDAP, volume 15)


Lifelong learning is an important policy goal in Europe. While policymakers tend to emphasize the economic purposes of lifelong learning, it is also for many adults’ experienced as a response to rapid social and cultural change. This may be even more important for older adults, who are at the forefront of changes in the adult life course, and may either have complex relations with the labour market or be out of it altogether. The paper reviews European evidence on the changing life course, particularly among older Europeans; it then explores the role of learning in promoting well-being in later life, drawing on a range of research into the wider benefits of adult learning. This research points strongly towards a positive relationship between learning and well-being, yet survey data consistently show that participation in learning declines sharply with age. The conclusion therefore emphasizes the risks of opportunities missed and prospects harmed, while pointing to the need for a new understanding of ageing and learning in contemporary societies.


Labour Market Lifelong Learning Adult Learning Commercial Provision Formal Labour Market 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of EducationUniversity of StirlingStirlingScotland

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