Call for Papers: Lifelong Learning Ecologies

Call for papers for a Special Section of The British Journal of Educational Technology
“Lifelong learning Ecologies: linking formal and informal contexts of learning in the digital era”.

Guest Editors

  • Dr Albert Sangrá*Faculty of Psychology and Education Sciences, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Spain
  • Dr Juliana E. Raffaghelli, Faculty of Psychology and Education Sciences, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Spain
  • Dr. George Veletsianos, School of Education and Technology, Royal Roads University, Canada
  • Dr. Mercedes González-Sanmamed, Department of Pedagogy & Didactics, Universidade da Coruña, Spain

*Corresponding Guest Editor:


The last two decades encompassed the outgrowth of several concepts that attempted to underpin the phenomena of learning in and with the digital. The case of ubiquitous learning (Virtanen, Haavisto, Liikanen, & Kääriäinen, 2018) seamless learning (Wong & Looi, 2011), expanded contexts of learning and personal learning environments (Attwell, 2007; Dabbagh & Kitsantas, 2012) all dealt with forms of learning that a) use the affordances of technology b) go beyond a single context, and c) are personalized and self-directed. Moreover, when social networks entered into the scene, the idea of a personal learning network that is managed by the learner across formal and informal spaces was exacerbated (Dabbagh & Kitsantas, 2012; Manca & Ranieri, 2013). The more recent technological advances, like augmented reality, intelligent tutoring systems, data-driven education based in facial recognition and interactions with the students’ mobile devices in classrooms, to mention but a few, have expanded the digital from the realm of the screen to the physical world, generating new forms of continuity (Adams Becker, Cummins, Davis, Freeman, & Hall Giesinger, C. Ananthanarayanan, 2017). However, the conceptualization of these phenomena seems to be fragmented.

This proposal explores the concept of “Lifelong Learning Ecologies” as a potential construct to address educational interventions and applications supporting new hybrid forms of learning. The central assumption behind the concept relates the connections that the learner can discover between contexts, resources, activities and relationships in a continuum from formal to informal learning, from on site to online experiences. The concept is not new in the field of educational psychology (see for example Bronfenbrenner’s work, 1979) but it has been adopted in highly diversified ways since the middle 2000’s. New empirical and theoretical research addressing this construct could provide an upgraded framework of analysis to understand how the single individual selects, experiences, and proactively promotes activities and relationships into and beyond the digital context, in order to generate opportunities to learn.

This special issue aims at introducing empirical research studies contributing to a) consolidating a definition of “learning ecologies for lifelong learning” as a conceptual framework to observe and analyse the continuum from formal to informal learning experiences across hybrid contexts of learning and along personal timelines; b) introducing new methodological approaches that include new learning phenomena in and with the digital, as well as connected research methods such as public internet data mining methods, quantitative ethnographies and data-driven approaches; c) exploring the applicative potential along innovations based on the concept, like learning recognition tools and methods based on acknowledging learners’ achievement based on ecological arrangements.

Research methodologies should be clearly, but concisely presented and show rigour. All papers should clearly describe the underlying theoretical and conceptual framework that is connected with the concept of learning ecologies. Moreover, we invite the authors to cover issues relevant to an international audience.

Submission and Inquiries
We therefore invite submissions concerning the application of the construct of lifelong learning ecologies to support innovative forms of learning, with learning understood very broadly. The authors must submit a full paper. Therefore, the manuscripts need to demonstrate that the paperfits the special section remit, has a rigorous methodology, is innovative, makes a significant contribution to the field and is relevant to an international audience. Full papers will undergo the standard reviewing process. Therefore, invitation to submit a full paper is just that and should not be taken as indication that the final paper will be accepted.

Authors who are unsure whether their work is suitable for the special issue should submit an abstract with a query to the guest editors well in advance of the deadline.

Abstracts should be clearly and concisely written and generally include the following:
• An introduction of one or two sentences stating the research aims and educational context; e.g. undergraduate; high school; pre-school, all levels etc.
• For empirical reports, a brief summary of the data collection methodology.
• A summary of the outcomes and an indication of their strength and significance
• Concise conclusions and implications in two or three sentences. What new insights does this research provide? What is its unique and significant contribution to the field? How is it relevant for a diverse international audience?

Important Dates

Abstract submission for queries to the guest editors: 20th October 2018
Full paper submission: 10th December 2018
Last Article Acceptances: 30th April 2019
Articles published online as soon as copyediting is completed.
Issue Publication July 2019.