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Lifelong Learning: Implications For Curricular Change And Assessment

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2000 Annual Conference


St. Louis, Missouri

Publication Date

June 18, 2000

Start Date

June 18, 2000

End Date

June 21, 2000



Page Count


Page Numbers

5.434.1 - 5.434.8

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Paper Authors

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Rose M. Marra

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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 2793

Life Long Learning: Implications for Curricular Change and Assessment

Thomas A. Litzinger and Rose M. Marra Penn State, University Park, PA 16802


EC 2000 brings 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; now EC2000 demands that we prepare engineering students to engage in lifelong learning. These demands immediately raise a number of questions, including

− What are the critical skills and attributes needed for lifelong learning? − What changes can be made in our curricula and approaches to teaching and learning that will develop these skills and attributes in our students? − How can we assess the extent to which our students have the ability to engage in lifelong learning and whether their abilities improve?

In this paper, we build upon our earlier, preliminary review of the literature (Marra, et. al, 1999). We begin with a discussion of the characteristics of lifelong learners by Flammer, who suggested that two key categories were “will do” and “can do,” referring to skills and attitudes necessary for lifelong learning (Flammer, 1978). These two categories are discussed in greater detail based upon more recent literature. Having identified key skills and attitudes for lifelong learning, we address three approaches to help students develop them and describe a recent implementation of one of the approaches in a junior level thermodynamics course. Finally, we discuss possible assessment methods, focusing on the Self-directed Learning Readiness Scale developed by Gugliemino (1978). Since its development, this instrument has been widely used to investigate students’ self-concept as learners and their perception of their skills related to self-directed learning. Preliminary data from senior engineering students is presented.

Marra, R. M., & Litzinger, T. (2000, June), Lifelong Learning: Implications For Curricular Change And Assessment Paper presented at 2000 Annual Conference, St. Louis, Missouri.

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