Promoting Adult Learning

image of Promoting Adult Learning

This publication provides policy guidance in an area that has been given little policy priority until recent years. It brings together key lessons from 17 OECD countries, providing evidence on the strategies in place to improve adults’ participation in learning. It addresses potential barriers to learning as well as the policies to remedy them. Among these are policies for increasing and promoting the benefits of adult learning to make them transparent and easily recognised. Other policy levers include economic incentives and co-financing mechanisms that can raise the efficiency of adult learning provision, while delivering quality learning that is adapted to adults’ needs. Finally, policy making can be improved via co-ordination and coherence in a field that is characterised by a wide variety of stakeholders, including ministries of education and ministries of labour.

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Increasing and Promoting the Benefits of Adult Learning

This chapter focuses on ways of promoting and improving the benefits of adult learning. To overcome the obstacles of lack of interest or lack of time, adults need to be motivated into learning. One way of providing that motivation is to clarify the benefits of adult learning. Economic benefits are normally expressed in terms of wages, employment and labour productivity. There can also be other, non-economic benefits such as greater self-esteem and increased social interaction. This chapter argues for improved visibility of economic, social and/or personal rewards for learning as a way to motivate adults to learn. It promotes improving information and evidence on returns and removing structural impediments to increase these returns, either through the recognition of prior learning, adequate certification of skills, the provision of useful course content and better information and guidance on learning opportunities.


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