Like in the 13th Century when a borderless network of universities began to spread the internet was from the beginning a network of scientists beyond the reach of the national governments. Later this developed into a global and anarchistic discussion-forum to on the brink of the 21st Century take another step in to become the global interactive marketplace it is today. A market for social networking, collaboration, ideas, products, and services, which means an environment where continual update and upgrade of knowledge and skills are required.
Access barriers and monopolization
In the 13th Century, it was a very small and privileged group that had access to the scholars’ republic. A continual nationalization of the universities appeared during the following centuries, so in the 1960s the borderless network was almost gone. However, at that time a new era of the scholars’ republic’s independence saw its first light of dawn, thanks to the internet. Many more universities were now available, many more had the chance to get a university degree, but the academic world was still a place for the privileged few.
The web is in this perspective a wall-breaker and democratization engine of education and learning where its first institution and driving-force is MOOC (Massive open online course). This is an entrance for everybody within many fields of interests to the scholars’ republic. However, is this the only possible form of borderless education for lifelong learners in higher education? What about lower levels with perhaps more skill-based or mindful learning?
Opening up Lifelong Learning opportunities
In general to open up more lifelong learning opportunities is to hurry up the shift from the national systemic approach of education into a more humanistic approach. This means a shift from the old closed system that generates exclusion especially of those who do not fit the norm that the system is based upon. And instead, direct the driving forces on an inclusive open approach. Like education and learning based on an open source foundation.
Peter Scott, professor of higher education studies at UCL Institute of Education said in an interview in the Guardian 9 March 2015: “We have been successful in establishing a mass higher education system – but we have been much less successful in creating a proper system of lifelong learning.” This is definitely one of the main challenges to make lifelong learning more workable. Where some of the main questions are: How to upgrade the lifelong learning in an open context? How to value the quality of lifelong learning? These questions and others I will explore in the next part of this article series.