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Adult Learners' Lives

Project: Non-funded ProjectProjects

1/09/0331/03/05

Adult Learners' Lives was a major project funded by the National Research and Development Centre for Adult Literacy and Numeracy. The aim was to understand the connections between adults' lives and basic skills taking account of social and economic factors. In this longitudinal study we used ethnographic methods to understand the meanings and connections that adults make between learning and their everyday lives. Informed by the Skills for Life strategy we looked at links between formal and informal learning at colleges, in the workplace, in the community and in the home. We are interested in literacy, numeracy and ESOL as social practices: practices that take place within a wide range of contexts in people's lives and that are shaped by a variety of social and economic factors. Adult Learners' Lives was a major project funded by the National Research and Development Centre for Adult Literacy and Numeracy. The aim was to understand the connections between adults' lives and basic skills taking account of social and economic factors. In this longitudinal study we used ethnographic methods to understand the meanings and connections that adults make between learning and their everyday lives. Informed by the Skills for Life strategy we looked at links between formal and informal learning at colleges, in the workplace, in the community and in the home. We are interested in literacy, numeracy and ESOL as social practices: practices that take place within a wide range of contexts in people's lives and that are shaped by a variety of social and economic factors.

In the classroom we looked at links between teaching and learning, participation, motivation and persistence. We were interested to know what motivates and engages adult learners in the area of basic skills. Through collaborative research we aimed to identify teaching and learning strategies that are more effective at encouraging and supporting adult basic skills learners.

Lancaster has a strong tradition of situated research looking at literacy as a social practice, rather than simply as technical skill acquisition. In the Adult Learners' Lives project we built upon this tradition making connections between different aspects of learners' lives and learning. We used, and developed, a variety of methods in the different sites of our research. These include observation, in-depth and repeated interviews, group work, photography and video. In addition we looked at various types of student writing and the many different forms of communications that adult learners encounter in their everyday lives: at work, at home and in the community.

Note

Funded by the DfES through the National Research and Development Centre for Adult Literacy and Numeracy.

Research outputs

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