Information superhighway 'bypassing adult learners' -- new study

Apr 02, 2012

Despite a world of opportunities just a click away, there has been no significant shift in the uptake of lifelong learning over the past decade according to new research.

Pronouncements at government level about the creation of 'a society' where education is the key to a nation's - the so-called 'knowledge economy'- are not backed by evidence in society, the researchers found.

Although easier access to the internet and faster connections may have facilitated informal learning opportunities, the vision of mass learning is simply a pipe-dream, researchers claim.

Analysis conducted by Dr Patrick White, a lecturer in the Department of Sociology at the University of Leicester, suggests that participation in adult learning neither increased nor widened during the first decade of the .

He said: "Given the rapid development of the Internet during these years – both in terms of capability and accessibility – our findings suggest that online technologies have not fulfilled the promise of their advocates who believed they would break down barriers to learning and expand access to previously excluded groups."

The research, published in the British Educational Research Journal, used multivariate analysis to analyse data on more than 47,000 participants collected as part of annual surveys commissioned by the National Institute of Adult and Continuing Education (NIACE). White concluded that – despite considerable technological change and numerous government initiatives – Britain was no closer to being a 'learning society' in 2010 than it was nine years beforehand.

In every survey year from 2002 to 2010 the majority of adults surveyed said that they had not engaged in any form of learning in the three years before being questioned. Those who had participated, however, were likely to be young, well-educated, economically active and working in skilled, non-manual occupations.

Dr White said: "The research found that respondents who were in occupational classes A, B or C1 (non manual jobs) were between one-and-a-half to two times more likely to have recently participated in recent learning than those in manual or unskilled work. Continuing initial full-time education beyond the age of 16 increased the chances of participation by a similar amount, as did being active in the labour market and being aged under 55 years.

"In contrast, having children in the household decreased the chance of participation by approximately one third."

While those currently participating in adult learning were more likely to report having access to the internet at home, there was no evidence that the internet had enabled groups with high levels of non-participation to re-engage with education.

Said Dr White: "Neither recent participation in learning nor intention to participate in the future increased over the nine survey years and there was no evidence to suggest that the factors most closely associated with participation – youth, early engagement with education and occupational success – had decreased in importance over time.

"Our analysis however, provides further evidence to support the growing body of research that suggests that the 'barriers' preventing educational participation are 'dispositional' and attitudinal rather than only practical, logistical or financial.

"Learning in later life appears to be primarily linked to positive attitudes to education that are usually formed during compulsory schooling. This means that young people who experienced early educational failure or felt alienated by the school system are very unlikely to participate in as adults regardless of the opportunities available or potential benefits."

Commenting on the research, Dr Fiona Aldridge, Head of Research at NIACE, said: "There are many challenges highlighted by the research including the crucial need to promote adult learning to adults from all walks of life, who do not believe that learning is for them. We need to overcome the maxim that 'if at first you don't succeed in learning then you never do'. While this is true for far too many people, we also know that thousands of get back into learning every year, defying the norm and reaping the benefits."

Explore further: Beyond human: Exploring transhumanism

More information: Patrick White (2012): Modelling the 'learning divide': predicting participation in adult learning and future learning intentions 2002 to 2010, British Educational Research Journal, 38:1, 153-175. dx.doi.org/10.1080/01411926.2010.529871

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Lurker2358
3.5 / 5 (6) Apr 02, 2012
It's a simple fact, people often do not have time to keep going back to "school" whether online or otherwise, because real life doesn't fit into stupid boxes.

If you want a family or even just a girlfriend, you can't be on a damn computer or at school and work all the time.

Then there's people like me, that have this sort of "displaced male" thing going on, where nothing ever seems to quite go your way no matter how much effort you put into it, yeah well, I find when I went back to school, I aced all the classes, but they kicked me out over another student's false accusation. Which I had already had some run-ins with the faculty anyway, because the classes were too easy and I finished everything early! So I mean wtf, do everything right and still come away with nothing anyway. That's pretty much been the story of my life.

And then you got people 10 or more years older than me, well most of them couldn't care less about computers in general, so they aren't exactly interested.
Lurker2358
1 / 5 (2) Apr 02, 2012
So no, the "back to school" thing didn't work for me, even when I made straight A's. All it accomplished was ruining my reputation and of course adding several thousands more dollars in debts.

then I saw on the news the other day they are paying port workers in Miami 55k per year, for nothing but high school diploma.

Hey, that'd be nice, I mean, Jesus, why the hell did I bother going to college or going back to a technical school, if you can get 55k at an "unskilled" job, but around here half the time you can't even get a 30k job with a degree, never mind people that don't have a degree?

And here, you'd get 30k on like 60 hours per week. There, they probably got unions, and getting 55k on like 40 hours, or eoweo 36/48 split.

There's your problem people, figure that crap out.

The only reason I'm even on the internet 9 times out of 10 is complete boredom, 'cause nothing else around here since I don't do bars or clubs anyway.
Lurker2358
2.3 / 5 (3) Apr 02, 2012
America is NOT the land of opportunity, that's for damn sure.

If you're born in the wrong womb or in the wrong state, you're pretty much just screwed, since it costs about a quarter to half a years income just to move to get another job anyway.

It's actually easier for an illegal immigrant to get both a real education and a real job, and real healthcare, than it is for a natural born citizen.

Maybe I ought to just say to hell with it and move out of here, even if I do have to take a big in the hole loan to do so.

I mean why not, eh?

I guess I can sit around here in a dump with a dead end economy that never adapts, or I can go broke trying to move, but hope something works out elsewhere
Lurker2358
3 / 5 (4) Apr 02, 2012
And then like I've said in the past, if everyone was a double PHD so what?

Most of them would still have to be servers, waitresses, manual labor in construction, janitors, sewer maintenance and other shit nobody wants to do, and they'd still get paid nothing for the trouble, so they'd all be worse off financially to pay their school bills.

So I mean the "promise" that going back to school, or investing countless hours even in an online program is going to further society both at the individual level and globally simply is not true and will never be true for about half of the population.

It doesn't matter how educated they become, about half the population is always going to be the other half's door mat.

And even still, nothing stops the "random BS/Jinx" crap some people's lives seem to be filled with anyway.

WTF else is going to go wrong in my life that I have no control over to completely fuck me over every time I just about get it back in order?
BIG COCK
2.3 / 5 (6) Apr 02, 2012
WTF else is going to go wrong in my life that I have no control over to completely fuck me over every time I just about get it back in order?


Nice little 4-comment monologue you have going on here. Why don't you do us a favor and climb into a log-splitter?
DoubleD
3.3 / 5 (4) Apr 02, 2012
WAAAH. It's everybody's fault but mine.
thomowen20
5 / 5 (1) Apr 02, 2012
Well, what hasn't changed is the fact that people have to work more hours a week to get by and have families, drama and what not. Consider also that online learning is a new opportunity lends little credence to this study. It is premature.
Vendicar_Decarian
3.7 / 5 (3) Apr 02, 2012
Very true.

"America is NOT the land of opportunity, that's for damn sure.: - Lurker

Socialist China is the land of opportunity.

"So I mean the "promise" that going back to school, or investing countless hours even in an online program is going to further society both at the individual level and globally simply is not true and will never be true for about half of the population.' - Lurker

American corporations want people skilled in exactly what they need. If you don't cut it then they will simply ship your job overseas where they can find someone who claims to have the skills they demand.

It is a global economy now, with a one world corporate government.

JRDarby
4.2 / 5 (5) Apr 02, 2012
It's actually easier for an illegal immigrant to get both a real education and a real job, and real healthcare, than it is for a natural born citizen.


Do you know any "illegal immigrants?" I do, and your statement is so baseless that it's beyond laughable. Be grateful for, or at least satisfied with, what you have.

Moreover, take Edison's "Genius is 1% inspiration, and 99% perspiration" maxim to heart. Either pick yourself up, each and every time, and keep going--or don't. Additionally, all your intelligence will serve you naught in society if you can't learn to play by society's rules, however stupid they are.
NetGeekSpeaks
1 / 5 (3) Apr 03, 2012
"Learning in later life appears to be primarily linked to positive attitudes to education that are usually formed during compulsory schooling. This means that young people who experienced early educational failure or felt alienated by the school system are very unlikely to participate in education as adults regardless of the opportunities available or potential benefits."

What a rather large crock! Granted those who have formal ed and enjoy it tend to re-enroll in continuing FORMAL ed online or otherwise; informal self-education is what the Internet is for after all, and I doubt this study took that well into account. Furthermore this just goes to reinforce that most people prefer to remain ignorant given the tools to educate themselves; same as with books before. Nothing changed. People exclude themselves.

PS Illegal immigrants? I think not. Immigration by definition is a lawful process. Try 'invaders.'

PPS Edison was a hack. Try Tesla. 99% Inspiration. 1% Execution. Edison jelly.
Eikka
5 / 5 (2) Apr 03, 2012
PPS Edison was a hack. Try Tesla. 99% Inspiration. 1% Execution. Edison jelly.


Not really. If you compare the CVs, Edison has a lot more going for him than Tesla who at the end of it didn't really invent all that much that really worked. But that's just the difference between quality and quantity, and how they stack up against each other.

Here, the question is the same. Is reading a comic about Bertrand Russell and Wittgenstein considered learning? Well you certainly learn things, but is it education? How about reading of philosophical arguments on Wikipedia because you're simply interested? Would you consider yourself to be as if sitting in an online classroom while doing that? Or is the subject to trite to be considered education? What about information on knitting then?

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