The current dominant concept of lifelong learning has arisen from the pressures of globalisation, economic change and the needs of the “knowledge economy”. Its importance is not disputed in this paper. However, its proponents often advocate it in a form which places unrealistic demands on the individual without at the same time addressing their learning needs. The paper suggests that much of lifelong learning in fact amounts to a “pedagogy of the self” whereby individuals are supposed to learn and imbibe certain pedagogic prescriptions so that they adopt a particular identity of the “learner”. The article suggests that this way of looking at lifelong learning misses the point in so far as learning is only as good as the knowledge-in-use which the individual can deploy and for this to happen situational awareness and situational understanding are vital components of lifelong learning. To this end, the article draws attention, by way of an amalgam of certain ideas of Heidegger and Aristotle, to certain structural features of situations which need to be reflected in the curricula of learning programme, the upshot of which is to emphasise both the social and ethical dimensions of lifelong learning. Finally the article suggests that some of the ideas of Stenhouse could be usefully employed in order to suggest not so much a pedagogy of lifelong learning as a pedagogy of critical learning.