Despite Government efforts to promote ‘lifelong learning’ and a more equitable and inclusive ‘learning society’ there is little special or new about adult learning in the digital age, according to research at Cardiff University.
The Adult Learning@Home project, which was funded by ESRC, concluded that ICT has not increased participation and achievement rates in adult education. Instead, e-learning tends to be associated with the same factors that determine school-leaving age, such as sex and socio-economic background. “It would seem that patterns of participation in adult education are not being changed for the better by changes in education policy,” says Dr Neil Selwyn.
The study, which was one of the first large-scale research projects to focus specifically on information and communications technologies and adult learning, shows that despite ‘universal’ levels of access to computers and the internet, actual use is limited to just over half of the adult population. Using the internet to learn a language or other new skill was secondary to communicating with family and friends, producing documents and searching for specific information and general knowledge.
Becky Gammon | alfa
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