Gallup: 'No evidence' bachelor's degrees lead to lifelong learning

For now, it is just 'a hope and a promise'

Colleges claim that they promote "lifelong learning"—but that may not actually be true, according to a recent Gallup survey.

Although numerous institutions say that lifelong learning is a core goal, they have generally not tracked whether or not students continue to pursue learning after graduation, Brandon Busteed writes for Gallup.

"It's simply been a hope and a promise. And, unfortunately, new Gallup research suggests that's all it is... a promise—far from reality," Busteed says.

For the study, researchers from Gallup and Healthways surveyed a representative sample of about 170,000 adults on whether or not they agree that they do or learn something interesting every day.  They then divided the data by educational attainment.

While 66% of bachelor's degree holders agree with the statement, so do 63% of those with only a high school diploma or less. Meanwhile, 74% of those with some postgraduate or professional education agree.

Busteed points to findings from the recent Gallup-Purdue Index, a study of more than 30,000 college graduates. Forty percent of graduates do not agree they had one professor that made them excited about learning, and two-thirds never worked on a long-term project or internship that required applied skills.

Gallup: The six college experiences linked to lifelong success

"How do we expect higher education to produce lifelong learners when many grads are missing the mark on having exciting professors, long-term projects, and applied jobs and internships?" he asks. "We shouldn't" (Busteed/Stutzman, Gallup release, 7/28; Busteed, Gallup release, 7/28).

Thoughts on the story? Tweet us at @eab_daily and let us know.


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