In early 2014 Oslo and Akerhus University College have started a three year research endeavour on "learning outside the formal education system", which seeks to tackle with the global shift to lifelong learning, as a denominator of various forms of learning not produced by teaching ("non-didactic learning"). Lifelong learning within the research program will be investigated from 7 different ankles, representing different areas of knowledge bound up with this overarching topic:
1. Philosophy of education and learning. Key issues: cultural and scientific assumptions underlying our understanding of learning, and its meaning for lifelong learning.
2. Societal and historical organization of learning. Key issues: organisational principles according to which learning and learning outcomes are organized and managed in different societies and over time, including changed relations (or non-relations) between formal, non-formal and informal learning.
3. Lifelong learning. Key issues: "the provision or lack of social, psychological, educational, organizational, institutional, economic, etc. preconditions for learning throughout life (from the cradle to the grave) and in all contexts."
4. Organizational learning or learning organizations. Key issues: collective and collaborative learning towards problem solving within and across organisations.
5. Work Based Learning and Training. Key issues: the role and importance of non-formal learning in the workplace, and possible integrations "into more formal educational schemes (cf. symbiotic learning systems)".
6. Adult learning or andragogy.
7. Vocational and Professional Education and Training. Key issues: "better understanding and practical development, concerning the collaboration and division of labor between formal learning in educational institutions and less formal learning in the work places."
Transversal to those 7 research areas, more general questions on lifelong learning will be raised taking in account the changed relationship between theory and practice; challenges arising from the transfer of learning acquired in the education system to the world of work, and vice versa: the formal recognition of learning acquired in the workplace within the education system. Last but not least, the changing relationships between what researchers produce as data and theory, and the realities of their research subjects will be discussed with a view to the increased importance of action research.