Skip to content


Improving learning through the lifecourse: Learning Lives


Publication date



Lifelong learning has become a mantra, but what does learning mean and do in the lives of adults? How has it changed over time and across generations? What are the connections with the changing worlds of work, the family and communities? What difference does it make to life chances? How do we learn from life, and how do we learn for life? How can people’s prospects of learning be improved?
Incorporating data from one of the largest and most ambitious research projects into lifelong learning in recent years, this book offers an invaluable step towards answering these important questions. Together the authors collected over three years of information, tracking the lives of over 120 adults from across Britain and undertaking 528 in-depth interviews, asking people about their life histories and the place of learning in their lives.
The central conclusion: that learning means and does much more in peoples’ lives than is acknowledged by current education policy and politics. These policies focus on the economic functions of lifelong learning. By contrast, the authors argue, not only is lifelong learning multi-faceted and complex, but learning helps people to strengthen and develop their sense of self.
In showing that people value the experience of learning in relation to their everyday lives, this book is invaluable to anyone interested in developing strategies for improving learning and any academic or professional aiming to meet different educational needs and circumstances.


Education and Life Course Analysis



not held in Res Lib - bibliographic reference only


Research home

Research home


Latest findings, new research

Publications search

Search all research by subject and author


Researchers discuss their findings and what they mean for society


Background and context, methods and data, aims and outputs


Conferences, seminars and workshops

Survey methodology

Specialist research, practice and study

Taking the long view

ISER's annual report


Key research themes and areas of interest