Skip to Content
Teaching and Learning

Graduate Attribute 5: Lifelong Learning


Lifelong learning is defined as "the ability to be responsive to change, to be inquiring and reflective in practice, through information literacy and autonomous, self-managed learning (SCU Graduate Attribute 5)."

The skill of being a lifelong learner means a graduate is open, curious, willing to investigate, and consider new knowledge and ways of thinking. This flexibility of mind means they are always amenable to new ideas and actively seek out new ways of learning or understanding the world. Lifelong learning can mean ongoing professional development, as well as personal growth and enhancement.

Strategies and Approaches

An example of how lifelong learning is embedded in teaching practice is found in two units of a progressive post graduate course, Master of Osteopathic Medicine. The units cover a double weighted research project (6000 words). The focus of the project varies according the nature of the study where students are required to develop the ability to devise a topic, understand ethics, to develop a proposal and carry out the research. Students are encouraged to aim for publication in a relevant scholarly journal. The units require students to be able to search, read the literature and develop the discernment of quality and validity, along with critical judgement. All of these skills are features of the lifelong learner.

The table below highlights how this graduate attribute relates to unit learning outcomes, and demonstrates relevant learning strategies.

Further Reading

There have been several projects investigating graduate attributes, their integration and applicability in university curricula and teaching practice.


Understanding academic staff beliefs about graduate attributes project (B Factor) 2009

This study found that staff acknowledged the importance of Graduate Attributes but had a lack of confidence about how to integrate them into teaching practice in a meaningful way.

Increasing institutional success in the integration and assessment of graduate attributes across the disciplines by identifying academic staff beliefs about graduate attributes

The National Graduate Attributes Project (GAP) 2009

This project reported on the critical role of academic understanding of graduate attributes, and how this is essential to effective incorporation.

Integration and assessment of graduate attributes in curriculum

A National Teaching Fellowship on Assuring Graduate Capabilities: Evidencing levels of achievement for graduate employability fellowship 2011

This fellowship, led by Bev Oliver, looked at capabilities (attributes) and developed a range of resources to ensure graduate capability. This was followed by Good practice Report: Assuring Graduate Outcomes (2011).

Assuring Graduate Capabilities