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Creating An Environment For Lifelong Learning

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1999 Annual Conference


Charlotte, North Carolina

Publication Date

June 20, 1999

Start Date

June 20, 1999

End Date

June 23, 1999



Page Count


Page Numbers

4.148.1 - 4.148.9



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Paper Authors

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Gary P. Langenfeld

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David Wells

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

Session 2563

Creating an Environment for Lifelong Learning

David L. Wells Focus: HOPE; Detroit, U.S.A. and Gary P. Langenfeld The Boeing Company; St. Louis, U.S.A.

Abstract: Learning is a continuum, without beginning or end. As applied to product and manufacturing engineering, learning must be a matter of the routine of professional life. In the ideal learning spectrum, university education would form the foundation for professional understanding and continuous investigation. Each university degree would be an identifiable platform from which to launch acquisition of the in-depth command of subject matter which is the hallmark of the finest in engineering practitioners. In current reality, however, it is observed that the typical university experience is separate and distinct from the professional workplace. Academic focus and industrial reality are not well- matched. This paper will explore possibilities for creating an environment where academic and experiential learning can be effectively and efficiently co-mingled through partnering between academia and industry. The objective of such partnering is an intellectual environment wherein academic rigor is learned in concert with professional job performance and where academic complexities are addressed within the industrial concern. The authors draw upon partnership experiences in which they are engaged and extract some critical parameters which are necessary for an effective lifelong learning environment.

Voice of the Customer: At the dawn of the twenty-first century, industry in all corners of the world are fully embedded in the Knowledge Age. In this environment, competitive, business and financial advantage for the industrial firm derives from the knowledge -- and the continued learning -- of its workforce. 1 Nowhere has the validity of this concept been demonstrated in as dramatic a fashion as in the securities markets, where the market capitalization of Microsoft has exceeded that of General Electric and General Motors, with only a fraction of the traditional capital assets. 2 Other noteworthy examples of the high valuation placed on knowledge- enterprises include America Online, Oracle and Yahoo. Valuation levels throughout the NASDAQ confirm the high financial worth of technology and knowledge in the marketplace at the turn of the millennium.

A new class within the workforce has been identified as ‘knowledge workers’, people whose primary function in the business enterprise is the application of information and knowledge. In the manufacturing sector, for either hardgoods or softgoods, the key knowledge workers are engineers, whose knowledge has an ill-defined, but well-accepted, half-life. Engineers must

Langenfeld, G. P., & Wells, D. (1999, June), Creating An Environment For Lifelong Learning Paper presented at 1999 Annual Conference, Charlotte, North Carolina. 10.18260/1-2--8127

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