The Learning and Work Institute (L&W) has published their report on the 2017 Adult Participation in Learning Survey.
The 2017 survey was undertaken by L&W with funding from the Department for Education (DfE) and its data was drawn from over 5,000 adults across the UK. This sample was weighted to provide a nationally representative dataset that reveals who participated in learning, their motivations, barriers, and benefits experienced.
“This report also provides, for the first time, segmented statistical analysis using disadvantage indicators to explore what the policy levers might be to engaging adults who are historically least likely to learn.”
A comparison with the results from pervious years shows a record low in the number of adults participating in skills training and publically-funded learning – the lowest since the survey began over 20 years ago. Key findings show that there are significant demographic differences when it comes to learning participation and that work/career related reasons were the main motivation for 75% of learners.
The DfE has also published further qualitative research into the barriers to learning for disadvantaged adults. This report is based on 37 in-depth interviews that explore the barriers, motivations, and triggers for learning. The aim was to identify potential levers for engaging adults in learning and gain insight on how policy and practice interventions can best target learner groups who have lower participation in learning.
“Adult learning can help tackle wider inequalities but will only do so if inequalities in participation change.”
Considerations for policy and practice note that, as barriers tend to be multi-layered and interrelated, interventions seeking to engage adult in learning should address more than one type of barrier. It is also important for outreach/engagement to tap into different motivations and that learning provision offers flexibility to accommodate competing priorities such as work, family and caring responsibilities.