A Critique of the nexus between student engagement and lifelong learning

Ian Solomonides

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    There is a current gap in the literature exploring the relationship between lifelong learning and student engagement. There is little evidence of how the contemporary mainstream measures and norms of student engagement underpinning the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) relate to, or are predictive of, preparedness for lifelong learning. Nevertheless, several assumptions about this relationship prevail in the literature and in institutional policy. This paper reviews representative research, critically examining the findings and setting out an alternative model of student engagement. Emerging constructs for student engagement and how they may apply to lifelong learning are presented. The primacy of behavioural models of student engagement is challenged, seeking to redress the balance between behavioural and affective aspects of engagement and its measurement. Taking a more critically reflective and personal approach to exploring engagement and lifelong learning with key stakeholders may impact more on individual and department consciousness than the application of closed, aggregated cross-sectional behavioural survey instruments such as the NSSE. This paper explores the current landscape of student engagement: its models, measures and some of the rather limited evidence on the relationship between engagement and lifelong learning. It is concluded that there is a need to develop further research and theses around the relationship between undergraduate student engagement and preparation for lifelong learning.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)65-82
    Number of pages18
    JournalInternational journal of continuing education and lifelong learning
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2012


    • lifelong learning
    • student engagement


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