|Published online: March 13, 2014||$US5.00|
Investment in Lifelong Learning (LLL) has long been an explicit policy goal within the European Union, on the grounds of economic and social benefits assumed to be generated. In the light of the “LLL slogan”, political discourse has repeatedly accentuated multifarious benefits, such as increased earnings and employability, social cohesion enhancement, health standards improvement, active citizenship promotion, lower crime rates and greater personal prosperity and fulfillment. In this respect, a qualitative study was conducted, aiming at a) recording self-reported benefits emanating from adult participation in LLL courses, b) identifying variables accounting for differences in the benefits reported by participants in the study. In an attempt to gain more meaningful insights into the situation, fifteen semi-structured interviews were conducted with randomly selected individuals having participated in general adult education courses. The data of the semi-structured interviews underwent a three level qualitative analysis, following the “grounded theory” methodology, comprising ‘open coding’, ‘axial coding’ and ‘selective coding’. The interviewees reported that their participation in adult education courses was a positive experience, which resulted into various wider benefits. The main categories under which significant benefits were recorded were “self-fulfillment”, “functionality”, “social capital”, “leisure” and “learning”. Moreover, taking into account that each person has different traits and needs, which are also interrelated with contextual factors, axial coding of data depicted that “disadvantaged” individuals appeared to have benefited most from their participation in LLL courses.
|Keywords:||Lifelong Learning, Adult Education, Wider Benefits, Social Capital, Social Cohesion|
The International Journal of Adult, Community and Professional Learning, Volume 20, Issue 1, March 2014, pp.61-72. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: March 13, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 774.443KB)).
Adjunct Lecturer, Department of Educational and Social Policy, University of Macedonia, Thessaloniki, Macedonia, Greece