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Norman Longworth was an honorary Professor of Lifelong Learning at the University of Stirling in the UK. He is the creator of the 'learning ladder', a diagram which describes the stages in human learning, and has written several books on lifelong learning and learning cities as templates for future development.
After a period of national service teaching statistics in the Royal Air Force he trained as a school teacher specialising in Geography and French, and became Head of Geography in two schools in the North of England. A change of career took him into the industrial field. Here he developed the UK's first schools-industry twinning programme, He chaired the UK Industrial Society's schools industry panel and sat on the Secretary of state's committee for microlectronics development. A period in University researching for an M Phil degree in the 1970s saw him create a nine module course on information processing for children which was taught in schools in the UK, Australia and elsewhere. At the end of his career he was the manager of external education programmes for Europe, Middle East and Africa creating many links between education and industry at all levels and in particular helping to develop a satellite-based continuing professional development programme between leading edge researchers and scientists and managers in industry. (EUROpace).
He then commenced his more academic career as UNESCO-IBM Professor of Information Technology ate Southampton University on secondment from IBM, a progression which has continued to the present. During the 1990s he was President of the European Lifelong Learning Initiative writing well-received books on Lifelong Learning (Lifelong Learning - Taylor and Francis/Routledge 1996)and the burgeoning concept of Learning Cities (Making Lifelong Learning Work - Learning Cities for a Learning Century - Taylor and Francis 1999) in which he is regarded as one of the world's leading experts.
He has been a visiting professor of lifelong learning in several European Universities - Sheffield Hallam, Napier Edinburgh, Stirling, ESC Toulouse - managing international developmental projects with Universities from Italy, Hungary, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Czech Republic, Canada, China, Australia, New Zealand, Botswana, France, Germany and many others, and has delivered keynote and invited speeches at conferences in more than 30 countries world-wide. He has advised International Governmental Organisations - EC, OECD, UNESCO - and is currently helping the latter to establish a Global Network of Learning Cities which it is hoped will transform the way in which cities perceive and manage a more prosperous, stable and sustainable future.
In 2001 he wrote the European Commission's policy document on the Local and Regional Dimension of Lifelong Learning (Learning Cities and Regions. His more recent books have enhanced his reputation as an out of the box thinker and developer of Lifelong Learning Cities and Region principles (Lifelong Learning in Action - Transforming 21st Century Education; Learning Cities, Learning Regions, Learning Communities (both Tayor and Francis/Routledge); Perspectives on Learning Cities and Regions - Policy, Practice and Participation (with Professor Michael Osborne)(NIACE). He has also been active as a consultant in PASCAL the global observatory on Place Management, Social Capital and Learning Regions. 10/2012