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Title: Influences of lifelong learning on adults' expectations and experiences of returning to formal learning contexts
Author: Weil, Susan Warner
ISNI:       0000 0001 3565 4248
Awarding Body: Institute of Education, University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 1989
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This multi-site qualitative study focused on mature students' meanings for and experiences of learning inside and outside formal education. Its purpose was to ascertain how influences of lifelong learning shape adults' expectations and experiences of returning to a formal learning situation after a gap of at least three years. Eight cycles of inquiry were guided by continual data analysis. Sources for data collection and analysis during cycles 1-7, involving 48 participants, included life story interviews with 3S; group interviews with 21, 11 of whom were also seen individually or in pairs; conversations with students; written material; reflexive field notes. Two cycles involved follow ups of participants who had moved to another formal learning situation. Additional groups of adult learners were used in Cycle 8 to check meaningfulness and credibility of the final data analysis. In Cycles 1-7, adults spoke from the vantage points of 55 different formal learning situations, 48 of which were in higher education. The majority of participants are identified as 'non-traditional' in the higher education literature. The final analysis is presented in four main sections: learning during the initial school years; learning as an adult outside formal education; expectations of and transitions to formal learning contexts; experiences of formal learning situations, and especially higher education. An additional section summarises checks for meaningfulness and credibility of the final data analysis with study and non-study participants. The notion of 'disjunction and integration' serves to organise the final analysis. Learning experiences characterised by disjunction or integration are seen to shape a sense of 'learner identity and possibility' in particular ways. These sensitising concepts provide a way of illuminating the situation of adult learners from a perspective not currently found in the literature relating to access and mature students. The implications of study outcomes are considered with respect to current concerns to widen access to British higher education.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Education & training