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University Strategies and Business Models for Lifelong Learning in Higher Education

Lifelong Learning (LLL) is about developing structures for continuing education that can fit the realities of professional life and help complete the knowledge that people acquire during their careers and renew or develop their existing knowledge. It is about all those phrases we use in speeches like "unlocking the knowledge of universities" and "making university education responsive to the needs of business”. Although LLL is as a concept broadly supported and strongly recognised by universities, governments and the EU, it is still in the starting phase of actually being implemented. LLL is not yet organised sufficiently at most universities which can easily be explained when looking at their principle task and target groups. In general universities are bound to their conventional business models focussing on research and innovation and educational programming in the BA/MA structure. This is the right strategy for the target group of traditional students. Entering the field of the LLL-student means developing new strategies and business models and consequently entering a partly unknown area. This explains for the bigger part the hesitation of most universities to take the next step in organising LLL.In the EADTU Task Force University Funding, TF USBM (University Strategies and Business Models) and TF Research in LLL we identified this lack of development in the field of LLL. On the other hand we clearly see that there are many European universities that already fulfil conditions for a successful implementation of these new approaches. Also, they have built comprehensive learning environments comprising interactive software and features for guided independent learning. However, they lack the right LLL policy, the right LLL strategies and the right business models for a scalable and sustainable approach. That is our focus. Within this project we now will in a collaborative setting of Associations in distance education, conventional universities and distance teaching universities work towards institutional strategies and business models for LLL. We will make an inventory of current and intended strategies and breakthrough practices in education and training of each of the partners in order to improve each other’s strategies and business models in different national and institutional contexts . Hence, this will be the place where open and some prominent conventional universities transfer expertise at the managerial, the technological and the pedagogical level to improve their impact on LLL in their respective societies.
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