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The learning divide in formal adult education: why do low-qualified adults participate less?

Sebastiano Cincinnato (UGent) , Bram De Wever (UGent) and Martin Valcke (UGent)
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Abstract
Objectives. The aim of this paper is to investigate the reasons behind differential participation rates in formal adult education in Flanders (Belgium) between low- and high-qualified adults. Since the scientific literature is rather tentative in its explanations for existing differences, finding empirical grounds for these explanations is necessary. Prior Work. Most theories explaining differences in participation in adult education draw on psychological, economical, and/or sociological reasoning. According to the psychological strand, differences in participation can be explained by differences in dispositions. The economic strand, on its behalf, stresses the importance of socio-economic status for understanding differential participation rates. Finally, the sociological strand focusses on differences in volume and composition of (economic, cultural, social) capital. Approach. In the analysis, data from the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) (n = 4134) were used. More in particular, applying logit regression modelling, we examined which factors were likely to explain the differential participation rate based on educational qualification. Results. The results suggest that differences in motivation to learn and differences in cultural capital are at the heart of the existing differences in participation between low- and high-qualified adults. Implications and value. The present study points out that the social background of potential adult education candidates should be accounted for in order to increase participation in formal adult education. Interventions aimed at increasing participation are not likely to resort the same effect on different population groups. Targeted interventions might be a more preferential approach when aiming at increasing participation of specific groups.
Keywords
cultural capital, dispositions, equality of opportunity, participation, adult education

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MLA
Cincinnato, Sebastiano, Bram De Wever, and Martin Valcke. “The Learning Divide in Formal Adult Education: Why Do Low-qualified Adults Participate Less?” Local Change, Social Actions and Adult Learning : Challenges and Responses, Proceedings. Ed. Paula Guimarães et al. Lisbon, Portugal, 2014. 401–415. Print.
APA
Cincinnato, S., De Wever, B., & Valcke, M. (2014). The learning divide in formal adult education: why do low-qualified adults participate less? In P. Guimarães, C. Cavaco, L. Marrocos, C. Paulos, A. Bruno, S. Rodrigues, & M. Marques (Eds.), Local Change, Social Actions and Adult Learning : Challenges and Responses, Proceedings (pp. 401–415). Presented at the Local Change, Social Actions and Adult Learning : Challenges and Responses, Lisbon, Portugal.
Chicago author-date
Cincinnato, Sebastiano, Bram De Wever, and Martin Valcke. 2014. “The Learning Divide in Formal Adult Education: Why Do Low-qualified Adults Participate Less?” In Local Change, Social Actions and Adult Learning : Challenges and Responses, Proceedings, ed. Paula Guimarães, Carmen Cavaco, Laura Marrocos, Catarina Paulos, Ana Bruno, Sandra Rodrigues, and Marcelo Marques, 401–415. Lisbon, Portugal.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Cincinnato, Sebastiano, Bram De Wever, and Martin Valcke. 2014. “The Learning Divide in Formal Adult Education: Why Do Low-qualified Adults Participate Less?” In Local Change, Social Actions and Adult Learning : Challenges and Responses, Proceedings, ed. Paula Guimarães, Carmen Cavaco, Laura Marrocos, Catarina Paulos, Ana Bruno, Sandra Rodrigues, and Marcelo Marques, 401–415. Lisbon, Portugal.
Vancouver
1.
Cincinnato S, De Wever B, Valcke M. The learning divide in formal adult education: why do low-qualified adults participate less? In: Guimarães P, Cavaco C, Marrocos L, Paulos C, Bruno A, Rodrigues S, et al., editors. Local Change, Social Actions and Adult Learning : Challenges and Responses, Proceedings. Lisbon, Portugal; 2014. p. 401–15.
IEEE
[1]
S. Cincinnato, B. De Wever, and M. Valcke, “The learning divide in formal adult education: why do low-qualified adults participate less?,” in Local Change, Social Actions and Adult Learning : Challenges and Responses, Proceedings, Lisbon, Portugal, 2014, pp. 401–415.
@inproceedings{5030388,
  abstract     = {{Objectives. The aim of this paper is to investigate the reasons behind differential participation rates in formal adult education in Flanders (Belgium) between low- and high-qualified adults. Since the scientific literature is rather tentative in its explanations for existing differences, finding empirical grounds for these explanations is necessary. Prior Work. Most theories explaining differences in participation in adult education draw on psychological, economical, and/or sociological reasoning. According to the psychological strand, differences in participation can be explained by differences in dispositions. The economic strand, on its behalf, stresses the importance of socio-economic status for understanding differential participation rates. Finally, the sociological strand focusses on differences in volume and composition of (economic, cultural, social) capital. Approach. In the analysis, data from the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) (n = 4134) were used. More in particular, applying logit regression modelling, we examined which factors were likely to explain the differential participation rate based on educational qualification. Results. The results suggest that differences in motivation to learn and differences in cultural capital are at the heart of the existing differences in participation between low- and high-qualified adults. Implications and value. The present study points out that the social background of potential adult education candidates should be accounted for in order to increase participation in formal adult education. Interventions aimed at increasing participation are not likely to resort the same effect on different population groups. Targeted interventions might be a more preferential approach when aiming at increasing participation of specific groups.}},
  author       = {{Cincinnato, Sebastiano and De Wever, Bram and Valcke, Martin}},
  booktitle    = {{Local Change, Social Actions and Adult Learning : Challenges and Responses, Proceedings}},
  editor       = {{Guimarães, Paula and Cavaco, Carmen and Marrocos, Laura and Paulos, Catarina and Bruno, Ana and Rodrigues, Sandra and Marques, Marcelo}},
  isbn         = {{9789898753021}},
  keywords     = {{cultural capital,dispositions,equality of opportunity,participation,adult education}},
  language     = {{eng}},
  location     = {{Lisbon, Portugal}},
  pages        = {{401--415}},
  title        = {{The learning divide in formal adult education: why do low-qualified adults participate less?}},
  url          = {{https://www.researchgate.net/publication/263584200_The_Learning_Divide_in_Formal_Adult_Education_Why_do_low-qualified_adults_participate_less?ev=prf_pub}},
  year         = {{2014}},
}