Natasha Bailey

Centre for Policy Studies in Higher Education & Training (CHET) presents

“More than just a Course” Tracking the Non-Traditional Outcomes of Adult Learning – an Irish Case Study

Natasha Bailey, Adult Educator and Researcher

Thursday, November 1, 2012
12:00 to 1:30 pm
Ponderosa H 123
2074 Lower Mall

Despite a western emphasis on adult learning for marketable skills, in the European context value is also attached to the development of social capital and civic competence. In 2009, AONTAS, the Irish National Adult Learning Organisation, commissioned a national study investigating the outcomes of community education. This type of adult learning targets educationally disadvantaged learners, fostering personal development and, potentially, skills for community development.

Using an innovative survey tool, this research explored the extent to which 683 learners across Ireland experienced civic, social, health and progression outcomes as a result of their learning. The research also attempted to draw tentative conclusions about community education’s potential to combat poverty and inequality at national level.

This research is an interesting case study of the evolving project to definitively measure the wider benefits of learning. It also presents the challenges of negotiating a research process with diverse stakeholders,including community groups, statutory providers and learners.