Developing 21st Century Diverse Adult Learning: Rural and Regional Student Access, Progression and Success in Higher Education

By Robert Townsend.

Published by The Learner Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The recent review of Australian Higher Education identified the need to increase higher education participation rates amongst disadvantaged groups. The report in particular notes the need for urgent attention to increase higher education participation rates in rural and regional areas. Consistent with this review and other key government policy directions, La Trobe University has identified the need to increase regional participation rates and its strategic and operational plans have as key outcomes, the creation of educational pathways that support lifelong learning. A strong focus of these plans is enhanced relationships with the broader education sector including schools, vocational and community education providers. This paper will present and summarise research conducted in regional Australia that has clearly identified how mature age individuals experience a range of barriers in accessing, progressing and succeeding at university. This work demonstrates that in many rural and regional contexts, mature age students face additional barriers exacerbated by financial and time costs and the geographic distance between communities and university campuses. The paper will conclude that the development of bridging programs, articulation agreements and formal mentoring programs between universities, schools and vocational and community colleges will enhance a diversity of access, success and achievement in a higher education context.

Keywords: Diversity, Adult Learning, Higher Education, Rural and Regional

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 17, Issue 2, pp.329-342. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 626.977KB).

Dr. Robert Townsend

Lecturer, School of Social Work & Social Policy, La Trobe University, Bendigo, Victoria, Australia

Dr Rob Townsend is a Lecturer and Researcher in Social Policy at La Trobe University, Bendigo. Rob has lived and worked in the central region of Victoria, Australia for over a decade. Rob lectures in social policy and adult and social learning frameworks and is also a Director of Continuing Education Bendigo. Rob is primarily interested in how access to Australian adult education and training programs can be facilitated in regional and rural areas via experiential adult learning frameworks that enhance the diversity and harmony of all communities.


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