Lifelong learning

Updated: 18 March 2022

Next update: Not yet determined

Share of those not employed who participate in formal education
Share of those not employed who participate in formal education

About the statistics

The Learning Conditions Monitor (LCM) is an bi-annual ad hoc module to Statistics Norway’s Labour Force Survey (LFS). The ad hoc survey focuses mainly on participation in education.

Concepts and definitions in the LFS are in accordance with recommendations given by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and EU/Eurostat. Through its participation in the European statistical cooperation, Statistics Norway is bound to follow and fulfull the requirements set by Eurostat (EUs statistical bureau) for the contents of the LFS.

According to the international recommendations, persons above a specified age should be classified by their attachment to the labour market in a specified, short period, either a day or a week. In the Norwegian LFS the reference period is one week, and the sample of persons are classified in relation to their situation in that reference week.

Employed persons are persons who performed work for pay or profit for at least one hour in the reference week, or who were temporarily absent from work because of illness, holidays etc. Persons engaged by government measures to promote employment are also included if they receive wages. Persons who have been laid off up to three months are considered employed.

Lifelong learning is here defined as all organised learning activity undertaken throughout life, and which results in improving knowledge, know-how, skills, competences and/or qualifications for personal, social and/or professional reasons.

Education and formal education includes all education leading to a qualification which is recognised in a (or the equivalent of a) national framework of qualification, e.g. elementary school, lower secondary school, modules or courses in upper secondary school, apprentices and practice candidates in upper secondary education, technical vocational schools, tertiary education giving official credit points and further education leading to a professional specialisation.

Formal supplementary education includes education leading to a qualification which is recognised in a (or the equivalent of a) national framework of qualification. All formal supplementary education is also regarded as formal education, but not the other way around. Formal supplementary education is, in many cases, a specialization or an extention of a previously compleded education. In this statistics, formal supplementary education is defined as formal education taken by the following groups: 1) all persons aged 35-59 years that at the time of interview state that they have participated in formal education within the 12 past months, and 2) persons aged 22-34 years that at the time of interview state that thay have participated in formal education within the 12 past months, and at the same time have had a break/pause in their education of at least 3 years since they first entered. In this statistics, formal supplementary education includes persons aged 22-59 years.

Non-formal education/training is any organised learning activity that is not formal education. It includes courses, seminars and conferences (where learning is the main purpose), public lectures and private lessons not part of formal education. The definition of non-formal education/training used in the Learning Conditions Monitor does not include guided on-the-job training.

Both formal education and non-formal education/training are institutionalised forms of learning. This entails that there is an organisation providing structured arrangements (which must include something similar to a student-teacher-relationship) especially designed for education and learning.

Training refers to non-formal education/training as defined here.

Informal learning is not institutionalised learning. Thus, it is less organised and less structured than formal education and non-formal education/training, often undertaken by the individual on his/her own. It may include watching TV or reading a book with the intention to learn, intentional learning from colleagues or family members, guided tours in a museum etc. The importance of the intention to learn when undertaking an activity separates informal learning from random learning.

Learning-intensive work refers to employment that requiers updating of skills and acquiring of new ones, with good possibilities to develop new skills during the daily work.

For discussions and examples used to clarify the differences between formal, non-formal and informal learning, see Eurostats Classification of Learning activities - Manual.

The industrial classification of economic activities is in accordance with the Standard industrial Classification (SN2007). The standard is based on the EU standard (NACE rev. 2).

Occupation is coded in accordance with the Standard classification of occupations, based on International Standard Classification of Occupations (ISCO-08).

Educational attainment level is primarily based on information from register information in the National Education Database. In cases where the respondent lacks register information, the respondent is asked. The definitions of the different educational levels were revised in 2006.

Name: Lifelong learning

Topic: Education

Not yet determined

Division for Education and Culture Statistics

Figures are presented at national level.

The Learning Conditions Monitor (LCM) is a bi-annual ad hoc module to Statistic Norway’s Labour Force Survey (LFS). The reference-period for this survey is the last 12 months prior to the interview. The interviews are conducted throughout the whole year. Up until 2021 LCM was conducted every year, with the interviews being done only in the first quarter of the year. From 2022 and onwards the module is conducted bi-annually in even numbered years.

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The basic material (survey results from the interviewers) as well as the statistical files (on the basis of revision and estimation procedures) are stored. Anonymized microdata are sent to Norwegian Centre for Research Data (NSD).

The main purpose of the LFS is to provide data on employment and unemployment, and data on the labour force participation in different sections of the population. The Norwegian LFS started in 1972. For information about the history of the survey, and about breaks in the time-series, please cf. Labour Force Survey 2015.

The Learning Conditions Monitor has provided valuable information on adult learning. The LCM is developed by the Fafo Institute for Labour and Social Research and financed by the Ministry of Education and Research. In 2015, Skills Norway became responsible for the LCM. The Skills Norway-section of the Directorate of higher education and competence took over the responsibility in 2021. The LCM has been conducted as an annual ad hoc module to the LFS from 2003-2006, and from 2008. The sample size is about 21 000 respondents. From 2022 the LCM will be conducted every other year in even numbered years. For more information about the LCM, visit and

By providing the relevant authorities and other users with information about the scope, form, content, and financing of adult learning, as well as the motivation and obstacles for education and training, the LCM contributes to the knowledge base for policy development.

Key users in Norway include the Directorate of higher education and competence, the Ministry of Education and Research. The Ministry of Labour and inclusion as well as some other Ministries, trade unions, research institutions, international organisations etc.

No external users have access to the statistics and analyses before they are published and accessible simultaneously for all users on at 8 am. Prior to this, a minimum of three months' advance notice is given inthe Statistics Release Calendar. This is one of Statistics Norway’s key principles for ensuring that all users are treated equally.

This statistic is a part of the statistics of adult education and other tuition in Norway. For international comparisons, se the Adult Education Survey.

The Statistics Law (LOV-2019-06-21-32) §1, §10 og §21.

Council regulation 2019/1700. Commission Regulation 2019/2240 and 2019/2241. The goal of the regulation is to establish a common framework for european social statistics.

The Labour Force Survey covers the whole population of Norway. The LFS has the most detailed information on the population aged 15-74.

The main source for the LFS is quarterly, representative sample surveys based on interview by telephone. 21 000 inhabitants in all municipalities are randomly selected each quarter. One respondent participates a total of 8 times, in 8 consecutive quarters.

A sample of LFS respondents are asked to answer the questions in the LCM. LCM includes persons aged 15-66 years. From 2021 and onwards, the LCM is conducted throughout the whole year, in every quarter. The reference period for the respondents is the last 12 months.

Data collection: Interviews in the LFS are conducted by telephone. Information from previous interviews are used while asking about any changes in the situation, instead of the same, comprehensive data collection every time. For the coding of industry, information from some registers is also used. Demographic data are collected from the Central Population Register, and data on education are based on a register of individual data collected by Statistics Norway from the educational institutions (but questions are also asked to get more updated information). Data are collected weekly, i.e. the LFS is a continuous survey (all weeks are covered). Up to 1st quarter 1996 (from 2nd quarter 1988) the survey was based on one reference week each month, and in previous years on one week each quarter.

Editing: Editing includes both control and revision. Several automatic checks have been implemented in the electronic questionnaires to prevent erroneous/inconsistent answers, flagging warnings when such errors occur asking the respondent to provide a new and valid answer.

Estimation: Person is the unit for analysis. The accurate number of persons in the population being represented by one person in the sample, the inflation factor, varies, with 170 on an average for quarterly figures. From 2018, estimations are done by a (multiple) calibration model.

For detailed information about the estimation method launched in 2018, see Documents 2018/16.

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As a consequence of the european regulation of social statistics (Council Regulation 2019/1700, Commission Regulation 2019/2240 and 2019/2241) there have been changes to the LFS and LCM. Thus, there is a break in the time series numbers from 2021 and onwards. The regulation has affected the interview period and the design of the questionnare. The contents of the survey is largely the same.

In all surveys, errors may occur in connection with both the collection and the processing of data.

The response rate in the LFS is about 80 per cent. Correction for total non-response is done in the estimating procedure. Partial non-response is adjusted for some variables.

The estimates from the LFS are based on a sample of family units. Somewhat different results might have been obtained if a different sample or a complete census had been taken using the same questionnaires, interviewers, processing, etc. as those actually used in the LFS. The uncertainty introduced by sampling is called the sampling error or standard deviation of the estimates.

From 2019, estimates based on less than 5 000 weighted observations are not presented. Estimates based on weighted observations between 5 000 and 17 000 are regarded as uncertain estimates.