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Assessing Readiness For Lifelong Learning

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.211.1 - 6.211.9



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Paper Authors

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Sanjay Joshi

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SangHa Lee

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Timothy Simpson

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John Wise

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Thomas Litzinger

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 3530

Assessing Readiness for Lifelong Learning

Thomas Litzinger, John Wise, Sangha Lee, Timothy Simpson, Sanjay Joshi

Penn State University


In general, lifelong learning can occur in two modes: formal and informal. Formal (or directed) modes include university courses or corporate training, whereas the informal modes, which occur naturally as part of learning to accomplish work tasks, are “self-directed.” The work presented in this paper focuses on assessment related to students’ ability to engage in self- directed learning and some early attempts at course enhancement to allow students to develop their abilities to engage in self-directed learning. The Self-directed Learning Readiness Scale (SDLRS) is used to assess of readiness for self-directed learning. In a preliminary study, this instrument was administered to approximately 60 senior engineering students to investigate the extent to which it correlated with academic performance as indicated by grade-point average. In a second study, the SDLRS is being taken by randomly selected first-year, sophomore, junior, and senior engineering students to determine how the readiness for engaging in self-directed learning changes during their engineering studies. Finally, two new, problem-based learning courses were implemented to enhance students’ learning as well as their readiness for self- directed learning. The students were given the SLDRS as a pre-test and post-test to determine whether the new courses enhanced their readiness for self-directed learning. These two new courses are briefly described and the results of the assessment are presented.


The ABET Engineering Criteria 2000 (EC2000) bring lifelong learning to the forefront for engineering educators. In the past, our role in lifelong learning was primarily offering courses and degree programs for practicing engineers through continuing education and on our campuses. Now EC2000 demands that we prepare engineering students to engage in lifelong learning. While this demand on faculty and curricula to prepare students for lifelong learning is new, the significance attached to lifelong learning, and in particular continuing education, within the engineering profession is not.

Lifelong learning in engineering has been recognized as critical for decades. The Final Report of the Goals Committee on Engineering Education, written in 1968, contained a discussion of the importance of lifelong learning.1 In 1978 the theme of the ASEE Annual Conference was “Career Management – Lifelong Learning.” Over the years there have been a number of studies to investigate the types of activities involved in lifelong learning, their frequency of use, the types of support systems required for lifelong learning, barriers to lifelong learning, and impact

Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright ©2001, American Society for Engineering Education

Joshi, S., & Lee, S., & Simpson, T., & Wise, J., & Litzinger, T. (2001, June), Assessing Readiness For Lifelong Learning Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico. 10.18260/1-2--8923

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