Conference Paper: Social Media and Lifelong Learning for Sustainable Development

Conference Paper

by Lorraine Lander and Gayle S. Stever, March 2017

World Symposium on Lifelong Learning and Sustainable Development

The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals cover a broad range of global problems and reaching those goals will require effort and education. Lifelong learning has become an essential part of modern life with rapidly changing technology, globalization, and increased urbanization, as well as environmental changes and the rise of green careers. Given the importance of sustainable development and global changes, it is important to identify effective ways of educating toward the UN’s goals. Lifelong learning, whether formal through programs and institutions or informal through self-direction, is increasingly important as a way of providing education for change, but also as a force for social justice and can be an important support for reaching these goals. The rise of the Internet and social media provides a conduit for delivery of lifelong learning that can transcend time and place, and harnessing its power can support the UN’s goals for sustainable development. This paper will identify various ways that social media can support lifelong learning in relation to sustainable development. Using a four-stage model of self-directed learning, the authors will outline how social media can support each stage. In addition, the authors will provide suggestions for application of social media for lifelong learning within the social movements of environmentalism and gender equality, two aspects of sustainable development.