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Research Briefing

Plain English Summary

Research Summary

Intentions Poster

Outcomes Poster

Full Report


Project Website


Phase III Research Network:


Understanding and Enhancing Learning in Community-Based Further Education (2003 - 2005)

This project has now completed. Major outputs include:


Professor Jim Gallacher
Ms Beth Crossan
Professor Terry Mayes


Project Summary

This project was associated with the Phase II project, ‘Transforming Learning Cultures in Further Education’ (TLC). The overall aim of the Scottish Extension project was to provide systematic knowledge and understanding of the learning cultures – the individual, social, economic and historical factors that shape learning experiences – associated with community-based further education (FE), and through this to identify changes in practice which will lead to enhanced engagement with learning. It extended the work of the Phase II project through developing the theoretical and methodological perspectives within the TLC project, and focusing on an aspect of provision which is not central to that project (viz. community based provision).
Our work was contextualised in the current policy focus on lifelong learning where the key contributions of the FE sector and the particular contribution of community based provision to widening access, supporting lifelong learning and tackling social exclusion are recognised. The work was undertaken in partnership with two Scottish FE colleges.
The project sought to integrate a number of theoretical perspectives, develop a methodological approach leading to an enhanced understanding of learning cultures, and identify how these could be transformed. The distinctive methodological approach was based on collaborative work with tutors and students through which change strategies were identified and implemented on each site.
This contributed to a programme of dissemination which was designed to involve the wider FE community in a process of investigation, reflection and change. The concepts of learning cultures, learning careers and learning relationships provided the framework for the analysis of the data which was be generated. The project provided models for transformation of learning cultures in FE community based provision, leading to enhanced learner outcomes.


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