Conference: Lifelong Learning Policies and Adult Education Professionals
International and comparative research still plays a rather small role in adult education research. From an international perspective, it has a focus on lifelong learning policies, cultural and structural paradigms and the interrelations to professionalization in adult education. In the European context, comparative research on lifelong learning is changing in a ground breaking manner: contextualism — seen as an act of deterritorialiyation and transcultural construction — represents a major impetus for the analysis of policy as ideological, socially constructed and subjective. Lifelong learning represents an ongoing process of globalization in adult education, which decades ago was mainly a national issue (e.g. policies of supra and international organizations such as UNESCO, European Union, OECD, World Bank). Beyond the policy level, these processes of internationalization also target the meso and micro levels of adult education. This means that the contexts, structures, institutions, networks and offerings of providers and adult education professionals are progressively becoming more international.
Initial comparative studies of Asia and Europe indicate that this also becomes valid in its own way in Asian countries and between policies not formally connected.
Whereas international educational policy research focuses mainly on the comparison of national policies as well as convergent and divergent developments, international research on professionalization in adult education focuses rather on cross-contextual results towards professionalization in adult education. The latter research focuses on transnational and cross-context results towards professionalization in adult education at the micro, meso and macro level of professionalization in adult education. Adult education professionals are managing, planning, counselling, teaching and transferring as an ongoing process of cultivating learning throughout the lifetime in various contexts. Context means more than the sum of external factors surrounding us – its emphasis is on the formative and interpretative ways of making lifelong learning a reality. Therefore, professionalization is linked to political decisions, frameworks, and convergent or divergent future challenges.
The objective of the conference is to analyse these two approaches (in terms of research question and research methodology): Therefore, the conference will take an international comparative approach, focusing on a contextual comparison as well as on the analysis of cross contextually valid results. The objective of the conference is to analyse (1) the contextual and cross-contextual role of professionalization in adult education in national, international and transnational policies in lifelong learning; (2) professionalization in adult education and its governance by educational policies towards lifelong learning (today and in historical perspective); and (3) professionals in adult education and their identification in the context of national, international and transnational policies in lifelong learning. To those ends, the conference will focus on multimethodological and multi-theoretical research, including empirical studies, discourse analysis, and an analysis of the history of approaches focusing on globalization, internationalization and transnationalization theories.