Recognising a more complete education through a Lifewide Learning Award

Norman Jackson (Surrey Centre for Excellence in Professional Training and Education (SCEPTrE), University of Surrey, Guildford, UK)

Higher Education, Skills and Work-Based Learning

ISSN: 2042-3896

Publication date: 1 March 2011



The purpose of this paper is to draw attention to an educational design developed by the SCEPTrE CETL at the University of Surrey, aimed at encouraging, recognising and valuing learning and personal development gained through students’ lifewide (co‐ and extra‐curricular) experiences.


The paper explores, through a single case study, the development and piloting of a Lifewide Learning Award through which capability that is relevant to being an effective professional can be recognised.


An award framework and supporting guidance and web infrastructures was devised and successfully piloted. Although feedback from student participants and from external peers employed as independent auditors was positive and encouraging, because of significant cost‐cutting within the University, the Award Framework is not being taken forward.

Practical implications

Universities that are successful in promoting and recognising such personal learning, personal development and self‐authorship will have a competitive advantage over those that do not. The implication is that all institutions of higher education should include such frameworks in their strategies for preparing students for the complexities that lie ahead of them.


The core concepts of lifewide learning and lifewide curriculum and the application of these concepts through an award framework which enables a number of important learning theories to be connected and integrated. The Learning Partnership Model for “self‐authorship” developed by Baxter Magolda and others in the USA is particularly relevant. While the new educational practices are not being taken forward at Surrey the ideas can be readily adapted to other institutional contexts.



Jackson, N. (2011), "Recognising a more complete education through a Lifewide Learning Award", Higher Education, Skills and Work-Based Learning, Vol. 1 No. 3, pp. 247-261.

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Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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