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Lifelong Learning Imperative for Engineering Professionals
September 2011
Washington, D.C.


Engineers and executives from various industries, educators, policymakers, and representatives of professional societies and the government came together for a workshop in Washington, DC to strategize about a national framework for lifelong learning (LL) in the engineering profession. The session was organized by the Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. Barry Lawson Associates served as facilitators for the workshop and report writers with a team for four facilitators and four note takers. Following a plenary session, workshop participants were divided into four groups for a series of breakout sessions.

In the first interactive session, each group identified barriers to lifelong learning for engineers in the U.S. and listed broad strategies for overcoming those barriers. Later each group focused on two strategies: identifying specific short- and long-term actions needed to implement those strategies, including which stakeholders should lead the implementation effort.

Workshop participants were asked to identify barriers to lifelong learning and to describe them sufficiently to help with finding practical and effective solutions. Each of the four breakout groups compiled a list of barriers in three major categories.

Workshop attendees then underscored the several broad strategies for overcoming barriers to improving lifelong learning in the U.S. Finally, each workshop group was assigned two of these strategies in order to recommend specific, actionable steps for implementing the two strategies. They also designated stakeholders who should implement the recommendations. These actionable recommendations were presented to the entire group at the end of the workshop.

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