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Digitalization of Education – The How and Why of Lifelong Learning

Research Results Concerning Online-Further Education in Tourism. Significance – Expectation – Utilisation

Lars Rettig

More and more parts of our lives are being digitally enriched. The field of education is no exception. The learning and working worlds are changing, and therefore also the requirements for education, continuing education and further education. At the same time, the period in which knowledge is up-to-date is ever shorter. Thus the ability to do Lifelong Learning is not only decisive for the success of the individual, but also for the sustainable existence of companies, economic sectors and whole regions/destinations. On the basis of psychological, pedagogical and economical concepts the author deals with the How and Why of learning. Based on this he investigates the significance of Online-Further Education in Tourism by means of qualitative expert interviews.

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4 Learning and Learning Theories


In the following sections, the question is not only why people learn but also how they learn. To answer these questions, various theoretical approaches from economics, psychology and pedagogy are briefly outlined.

4.1 Learning – a Need?

Even if Maslow’s Need Hierarchy Theory (1943) is not adequately supported by empirical findings1 and is therefore especially criticized in the field of organizational psychology, the categorization of needs he proposed provides a pragmatic way of illustrating why people learn.

Maslow structures human needs in the form of a pyramid (physiological needs, safety needs, social needs, individual needs and the need for self-actualisation). It not only shows motives for human action, but also derives the actions of individuals. In other words, he was attempting to answer the question as to what motivates people to act. When applied to the question as to why people learn, Maslow’s structuring is interesting.

His theory, however, is characterised by a socialisation which is based on individualisation and the need for self-actualisation as the (desired) peak of the pyramid. This must be taken into account in the following explanations. As much as Maslow’s description can be used to illustrate learning needs in Western societies, the cultural characteristic of the needs pyramid makes it difficult to transfer them.2 Social needs in societies characterised by collective thought, are not necessarily dependent on the physiological needs – as in Maslow – but rather more on the cohesion of the group, as that offers the...

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