Lifelong Learning: A Higher Order of Consciousness and a Construct for Faculty Development

J Oral Maxillofac Surg. 2019 Oct;77(10):1967.e1-1967.e8. doi: 10.1016/j.joms.2019.06.011. Epub 2019 Jun 24.


Learning is an element of human personal and professional development that occurs throughout life in a variety of informal and formal contexts. Meaning making, a process in which people construct the meaning of events and experiences that are part of and shape our existence, represents an informal context of learning in that thinking and reflection is all that is required to accomplish this type of learning. Our meaning making equates to informal learning that develops through a lens in which we create the meaning of our experiences. Informal adult education, or casual opportunities to learn in adult life, is represented by the flexibility of the process, the experiential nature of the learning process, and the enthusiasm and dedication of the participants. Lifelong learning is an overarching experience that involves formal educational experiences. Lifelong learning is motivated internally, including the ability to establish favorable change in one's career trajectory. As such, it can be argued that lifelong learners ascribe to a higher order of consciousness, specifically, self-authoring or self-transforming minds. The support, stimulation, and encouragement of lifelong learning, therefore, represents a construct for effective faculty development in graduate medical education.

MeSH terms

  • Consciousness*
  • Education, Medical, Graduate
  • Faculty*
  • Humans
  • Learning*
  • Surgery, Oral* / education