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Lifelong learning is the concept that "It's never too soon or too late for learning", a philosophy that has taken root in a whole host of different organizations.
Lifelong learning sees citizens provided with learning opportunities at all ages and in numerous contexts: at work, at home and through leisure activities, not just through formal channels such as school and higher education.
Lifelong education is a form of pedagogy often accomplished through distance learning or e-learning, continuing education, home schooling or correspondence courses. It also includes postgraduate programs for those who want to improve their qualification, bring their skills up to date or retrain for a new line of work. Internal corporate training has similar goals.
Sometimes it aims to provide educational opportunities outside standard educational systems — which can be cost-prohibitive, if available at all.
One of the reasons why lifelong education has become so important is the acceleration of scientific and technological progress. Despite the increased duration of primary, secondary and university education (14-18 years depending on the country), the knowledge and skills acquired there are usually not sufficient for a professional career spanning three or four decades.
More importantly, lifelong learning is attitudinal; that one can and should be open to new ideas, decisions, skills or behaviors. Lifelong learning throws the axiom "You can't teach an old dog new tricks" out the door.