This paper explores the interconnections between literacies learning, self-confidence, identity as a learner and social capital. It draws from a two-phased study of over 600 literacy and numeracy learners in Scotland that examined various aspects of their learning experiences and their perceptions of the impact that learning had on their lives. It reports on the changes in social capital and self-confidence experienced by learners between the two phases and explores the complex connections between engagement in learning and the development of self-confidence, an increasingly positive identity as a learner, and enhanced social capital. It argues that the increases in social activity and networking reported by learners had been developed through being at the centre of a range of new networks in relation to their tutors, other staff and fellow students that, in turn, have led to more engagement locally. Learning and its benefits are dynamic and a number of positive changes in learners' lives are illustrated to show the impact of participation in literacies learning.
Studies in the Education of Adults is an international refereed academic journal, publishing theoretical, empirical and historical studies from all sectors of post-initial education and training. It provides a forum for the debate and development of key concepts. Studies in the education of adults is published by NIACE in association with the Standing Conference on University Research and Teaching in the Education of Adults (SCUTREA), the Universities Association for Continuing Education (UACE) and the European Society for Research on the Education of Adults (ESREA).