In the material on key competences we mentioned that the Recommendations on key competences for lifelong learning were adopted at European level in 2006. Lifelong learning is defined as a continuous process of flexible learning opportunities, linking learning and competences acquired in formal institutions with the development of competences in non-formal and informal contexts.
Uninterrupted lifelong learning is associated with well-being, which has been identified as a highly effective, albeit subjective and difficult to measure, starting point. Thus, learning can take place in educational institutions, at work, at home, through leisure activities, interactions with others, etc. We are thus talking about formal education that benefits from qualifications, organised education that does not lead to formally recognised qualifications, and learning in informal contexts that is not necessarily intentional.
From this point of view, cultural organisations can actively contribute to lifelong learning, especially from the perspective of education in non-formal and informal contexts, providing satisfaction and having a positive effect on the perceived well-being of those who learn new things in such open and friendly environments.
Lifelong learning is associated not only with benefits for the individual but also with positive aspects for the whole community, making this continuous educational process a public value.
The European Commission has even proposed that 2023 be designated as the European Year of Competences, encouraging as many adults as possible to participate in lifelong learning programmes (60% in 2030).
In this context, we would like to emphasise that cultural education is not limited to a young audience, especially schoolchildren, but is also addressed to adult beneficiaries, including senior citizens.
The publication produced as part of a two-year international project, Lifelong Learning in Museums, A European Handbook, EDISAI srl – Ferrara (Italy), 2006-2007, edited by Kirsten Gibbs, Margherita Sani, Ane Thompson, can provide some details on lifelong learning in a cultural environment, as well as case studies for interested professionals. Involving museum educators and cultural mediators working with adult audiences, the project highlighted some important factors that motivate adult learners: active involvement in the learning process, valuing personal experience, contributing to the choice of topics to discuss in which the person has already shown an interest, and the applicability of new information to their own lives. The results have been concentrated in a handbook which is presented on the NEMO (Network of European Museums Organisations) website and can be accessed here.
A successful example in Romania is Formare Culturală, a dynamic platform initiated in 2012, which uses a complex formula of creative training and cultural networking.
The Formare Culturală platform can be accessed here.