Thursday, June 19, 2014

The benefits of liberal adult education

We hear a lot about evidence-based policy in education, but somehow it always seems to involve the same narrow agenda. So let's look at evidence in support of a very different view of education.

The Benefits of Lifelong Learning (BeLL) study, which was funded by the European Commission, investigated the individual and social benefits perceived by adult learners who participated in liberal adult education courses.

The study's website reports its findings:
The data showed that adult learners experience numerous benefits from liberal adult education. They feel healthier and seem to lead healthier lifestyles; they build new social networks and experience improved wellbeing. Moreover, adults who participate in liberal adult education appear to feel more motivated to engage in lifelong learning and view it as an opportunity to improve their lives. These benefits were reported by learners across all course areas, ranging from languages and the arts to sport and civic education.
It goes on to point out that the study provides evidence the perceptions of the benefits of learning by learners themselves and not evidence about benefits observed by others or measured in changed behaviour.

Still, I suppose that even in the world evidence-based policy people can be allowed some insight into their own feelings.

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