Conditions for successful adult learning systems at local level: Creating a conducive socio-spatial environment for adults to engage in learning

Simon Broek*, M.A.C.T. Kuijpers, J.H. Semeijn, Josje van der Linden

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Adults must continually learn to navigate the challenges of society and the job market. This lifelong learning is vital, particularly for vulnerable adults, and should be fostered in their living and working environment. In this article, we present a literature review exploring the conditions of conducive learning environments at meso-level, being the socio-spatial learning infrastructure constituted by learning providers, policies and interventions. The review started with an article title search using key words which was further enriched by assessing relevant studies for well-known international organisations. In total, 23 sources explicitly discussed success factors of conducive learning environments, grouped in those reflecting on local learning centres (three); learning communities (including cities) (twelve), and adult learning policies (eight). Looking at these different strands of literature covered the full spectrum of conditions from generic system-related characteristics to nuanced intervention-related characteristics. As a result, 12 conditions were identified, including system-related characteristics (political will, governance, partnership, funding, monitoring) and intervention characteristics (trusting environment, professionalism, guidance, outreach, tailoring to needs, learning leads to progression). Both blocs of conditions impact each other, and they should both be taken into account by policy makers in assessing and developing adult learning policies and interventions at meso-level.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages24
JournalInternational Journal of Lifelong Education
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 9 Apr 2024

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