Any definition of learning economy has to start with the individual terms:
Here’s how I define it:
the lifelong process of transforming information and experience into knowledge, skills, behaviors, and attitudes. (from A Definition of Learning)
I wrote this years ago and it has held up. If I were to modify it at all, it would be to say that behaviors and attitudes are probably much more important than knowledge and skills. Unfortunately, because we tend to confuse education vs learning, we put way too much emphasis on the later.
I had to piece together Merriam-Webster and Oxford to get a definition that I felt was truly accurate:
a system of “interaction and exchange” (M-W) that governs the “the wealth and resources of a country or region, especially in terms of the production and consumption of goods and services.” (Oxford)
Learning is a process. An economy is a system. Both are dynamic and evolving; both never “end” in any meaningful sense.
In a Learning Economy, the process of learning is the fundamental driver of the system.
Learning fuels innovation; it fuels change; it enables participants in the system not only to adapt so that they can sustain wealth but also to evolve and improve in ways that enable the creation of new wealth.
Without learning, the system atrophies.
You could argue that every successful economy is a learning economy – and you would be right. What is different now, though, is the sheer speed, scope, and scale of learning – and, by extension, change – that is possible.
Technology – in the broadest sense – has made this possible. And learning continues to drive the advancement of technology. Both knock down economic barriers and borders.
A flywheel effect. A virtuous – or is it vicious? – circle.
That is the Learning Economy.
P.S. – What the Learning Economy is relates directly to what the Learning Revolution is.