Exploring lifelong learning as a concept and how it can be measured can provide educators with clear steps for fostering this mindset in students. This research examined the characteristics of lifelong learners, and whether work-integrated learning (WIL) fosters these characteristics. Data was collected from co-op students and alumni using a lifelong learning scale, rubric of career success (satisfaction, engagement, advancement), and a cross-sectional survey.

Findings revealed that: (1) differences in lifelong learning scores exist between students who participated in co-op and those who did not; (2) lifelong learning characteristics influence forms of student adjustment and performance during co-op; and (3) participants with higher lifelong learning scores ranked higher on career success measures.