Conference Paper British Educational Research Association (BERA), 6-8 September 2007 as part of the Symposium "Continuity and Change in Lifelong Learning: Insights from the 'Learning Lives' Project"
Role configurations and pathways: a latent structure approach to studying formal learning in the life course
Longitudinal data from the British Household Panel Survey were used to examine the pathways taken by 345 females (born 1966-71) from early to mid adulthood. Stage one, of a two-stage latent class analysis, identified three distinct classes at age 20-25, 25-30, and 30-35 and two at age 33- 38. Expected membership of each class was related to how marriage, parenthood, and work roles configured in relation to one another and in relation to likelihood of being an adult education participant and likelihood of being geographically mobile at four time points (1991, 1996, 2001, 2004). Our second stage analysis revealed the existence of different pathways through these role configurations over time and their association with the likelihood of take-up of adult formal learning opportunities. Our results show that members of the three sub-groups identified at age 20-25 had a propensity to follow different pathways. The parent-orientators had the highest likelihood of following path I and were very unlikely to follow either paths II or III. The work-orientators, on the other hand, were most likely to follow path III and were least likely to follow path I. The smallest sub-group, the multi-taskers were most likely to follow path II but were highly unlikely to follow path I. These findings, together with other our emerging findings from the Learning Lives project, including the combining of our quantitative and qualitative (case study) datasets, are being used to explore the place of learning in the lives of adults.