Decision making of adult learners below level 2


Department for Education commissioned Learning and Work Institute to undertake research into how adults with qualifications below level 2 make decisions about whether or not to take up learning.

This research used in-depth interviews and focus groups with adults who are currently not engaged in learning.

The main findings of the research included:

  • common motivators for learning, such as career, family, mental wellbeing and personal development
  • potential barriers to learning, such as financial cost, time and energy, inflexible employers, and insufficient learning support systems
  • blended learning, combining face-to-face with online learning, was considered to be an attractive option by many participants

To engage more adults in learning, participants suggested that learning providers should:

  • be age-inclusive in their marketing strategy
  • offer clear, accurate information about the benefits and challenges of adult learning to inform decision-making

Participants also emphasised the importance of:

  • employer, tutor and peer support
  • financial support to cover course costs and other associated costs, such as childcare