UL hosted the 4th Annual HELLIN Conference on Enabling Lifelong Learning on Friday, December 8.
HELLIN (Higher Education Lifelong Learning Ireland Network) was founded to promote and advance lifelong learning and continuing professional education for adults within universities, institutes of technology and other relevant bodies in Ireland.
Dr Pat Phelan, Vice President Academic and Registrar of UL, opened the conference and welcomed over 50 of the leading experts in higher and further education on campus.
Chaired by UL’s Dr Ann Ledwith and Dr Lucy Hearne, keynote speakers discussed flexibility in education, the relevance of learning to people’s lives and employment progression leading from learning opportunities.
Delegates had the opportunity to attend presentations and panel discussions on technology-enhanced learning, political, institutional and personal challenges to adult education, work-based learning, recognition of prior learning, and personal and professional development through lifelong learning.
Professor Tom Collins, Chair of Dublin Institute of Technology, delivered the afternoon keynote, noting the “disparity wealth distribution in Ireland with 50% of the population sharing 5% of all wealth greatly contributing to underachievement in education”.
Professor Collins also added that “servicing debt is now a significant challenge in academic planning and institutional management with the locus of decision making in universities and institutions moving from the academics to the executive and the social project of education as a public good is weakened in this scenario”.
The event concluded with feedback from two panel discussions on recognition of prior learning and the relevance of lifelong learning to professional and personal development with one delegate commenting: “I really liked that I had the opportunity to chat with people who I wouldn't normally have the opportunity to engage with. I work in further education and training and studying for my PhD so the day was wonderful from a personal as well as from a work point of view”.