Capturing the Wider Outcomes of Community Learning


This details the findings of a survey to investigate approaches to capturing wider outcomes and social value used among community learning providers.

It draws primarily on the responses received from 76 providers which have undertaken activity in this area.

The research found that:

  • Most providers’ approaches to capturing wider outcomes and social value have been developed in-house and build on existing methods used to collect evidence on the learner experience, particularly individual learning plans (ILPs) and end of course evaluations. In some cases, providers draw on evidence from a range of sources.
  • Providers use evidence of wider outcomes and social value in a range of ways.
  • Providers are able to identify a range ways in which their learners and for their organisation have benefitted from adopting an explicit focus on wider outcomes.
  • The principle challenges and barriers to the implementation of effective approaches to capturing wider outcomes and social value are felt by providers to be: difficulties in generating good quality data; lack of time and resources to devote to the work; and the risk of excluding certain learner groups.
  • The three most important success factors are involving learners, embedding a focus on wider outcomes and social value into organisational strategic plans, and providing staff training and development.
  • While most providers are confident that their work is effective in capturing evidence of the immediate wider outcomes of learning for individual learners, they were much less so with regard to demonstrating longer term impacts or translating social into financial value.

Niace was one of the two founding organisations of Learning and Work Institute.