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Low-skilled adults in formal continuing education: does their motivation differ from other learners?

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This study aims to analyse low-skilled adults' motivation for formal adult education. The study examines how adults' motivation for formal education is affected by educational level, age, gender, employment status and citizenship. Survey data were collected from adults enrolled in formal educational programmes at different educational levels. Of 753 respondents, 88 were attending primary or lower secondary programmes. The remaining participants were in upper secondary schools, post-secondary/tertiary vocational education, or in Bachelor's or Master's degree courses. Differences according to education levels can be explained in part by typical characteristics of the people involved at various levels of the education system. However, even when controlling for factors that may cause differences in motivation, adult learners at the lowest educational levels differ from others. The main difference is that low-skilled adults more frequently state that they have been obligated to undertake training. These results indicate that when recruiting low-skilled adults for learning activities, there is a need to develop targeted policy instruments instead of alluding to moral and social obligations.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Fafo, Institute for Labour and Social Research, Oslo, Norway

Publication date: September 1, 2009

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