Predicting or Preventing Lifelong Learning? The Role of Employment, Time, Cost, and Prior Achievement

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Although there has been a rich amount of research about lifelong learning providing benefits such as economic advancement and personal fulfillment, less is known about factors that increase or decrease a person’s likelihood of pursuing it. Nonetheless, knowing these predictors and barriers can have practical consequences on encouraging people to have continued education. Using a national US dataset (n = 1651), our analyses showed people’s pursuit of different lifelong learning modalities and revealed significant predictors and barriers of lifelong learning. Counterintuitively, employment and time constraints did not prevent individuals from pursuing educational opportunities; they actually helped predict it. Additionally, limited information—rather than cost—was a stronger driver in preventing people from pursuing lifelong learning. Taken together, the research has implications for encouraging people to pursue lifelong learning.