Evidence & Research

Framework

Achieving effective adult learning policies - Key success factors

A systematic review of research evidence has identified “key success factors” in achieving effective adult learning policy. These are groups of policy actions which evidence has proven to be effective in improving participation rates in adult learning, improving the levels of skills and competences and the overall level of quality.

Each of the key success factors identified is made up of a group of individual policy actions, “building blocks for success”. These are individual policy actions for which evidence exists to show their effectiveness in achieving adult learning policy.

Key Success Factors
A success factor is a group of related building blocks which are identified by evidence as having an impact on the effectiveness of adult learning policies, as shown by changes in the participation rate in adult learning the level of skills and competences and the level of quality of adult learning.
1. Learners’ interest in learning
Analysis of the evidence shows that building a positive disposition towards learning among individual learners is important in terms of promoting participation and retention in learning. A key part of building this positive disposition is highlighting the benefits of learning and making them relevant for learners, especially in the context of upskilling and reskilling for employment purposes.
2. Employers’ investment in learning
Employers play an important role in promoting a learning culture and promoting participation in learning. They should be considered an important partner in the delivery and design of adult learning.
3. Improve equity of access for all
This success factor is focused on ensuring that learners from disadvantaged and underrepresented groups are able to access and benefit from learning. It recognises the challenges in engaging these groups in learning and overcoming barriers to their participation, but also focuses on the need to engage adults who are low-skilled and unemployed.
4. Learning that is relevant
This success factor is aimed at ensuring that learning is relevant for both employers and learners. where learning takes account of the needs and motivations of both employers and learners, it is likely to be more effective in improving outcomes for both and in increasing participation in learning.
5. High quality learning
There is broad agreement among practitioners that delivery of high quality adult learning is important in ensuring positive outcomes for learners, employers and the community. This is reflected in the number of reports that have been recently published that have mapped and compared quality assurance systems in adult education and training in different Member States.
6. Coherent policy
This success factor is focused on the need to co-ordinate lifelong learning policy effectively to deliver the desired outcomes for learners, employers and the community. Hover your cursor over each building block to see a full description.
Building Blocks for Success
A building block is a policy action that has been identified in the evidence as being effective in leading to an improvement in the participation rate in adult learning, the overall level of skills and competences or the quality of adult learning.
Raise awareness of benefits of learning
Provide guidance on learning options
Engage social partners
Ensure good initial learning experience
Building Blocks for Success
A building block is a policy action that has been identified in the evidence as being effective in leading to an improvement in the participation rate in adult learning, the overall level of skills and competences or the quality of adult learning.
Financial incentives for employers
Promote accredited qualifications
Promote work-based learning
Building Blocks for Success
A building block is a policy action that has been identified in the evidence as being effective in leading to an improvement in the participation rate in adult learning, the overall level of skills and competences or the quality of adult learning.
Fund learning for disadvantaged groups
Provide targeted guidance and support
Recognise prior learning
Outreach via a range of organisations
Develop basic skills
Building Blocks for Success
A building block is a policy action that has been identified in the evidence as being effective in leading to an improvement in the participation rate in adult learning, the overall level of skills and competences or the quality of adult learning.
Understand learners needs
Forecast employers' skills needs
Promote innovation and flexibility
Provide progression pathways
Building Blocks for Success
A building block is a policy action that has been identified in the evidence as being effective in leading to an improvement in the participation rate in adult learning, the overall level of skills and competences or the quality of adult learning.
Monitor and evaluate
Develop skilled adult education workforce
Building Blocks for Success
A building block is a policy action that has been identified in the evidence as being effective in leading to an improvement in the participation rate in adult learning, the overall level of skills and competences or the quality of adult learning.
Co-ordinate with other policies
Align policy at local level
Build knowledge base
System Level Indicators
A system-level indicator measures the overall effectiveness of adult learning policies. These include the participation rate in adult learning, the level of skills and competences and the quality if adult learning.
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Participation in learning
Level 2 indicator.
Skills and competences
Level 3 indicator.
Outcomes of learning
Outcomes
An outcome indicates the overall impact of adult learning policy on individual learners, employers and the community.
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Increased Income

Improved well-being

Increased employability

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Motivated workforce

Productivity

Innovation

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Economic growth

Civic and social participation

Greater equality