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ERIC Number: ED535815
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 148
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 27
ISBN: ISBN-978-0-9068-2633-1
Sowing the Seeds of Social Change: The Outcomes and Impact of a Social Action Model of Community Education. Research Report AONTAS 2011
Bailey, Natasha; Ward, Mark; Goodrick, Michelle
AONTAS The National Adult Learning Organisation
The research described in this report is a companion piece of research to one conducted by AONTAS from 2009-2010 about the outcomes and impact of Department of Education and Skills (DES) funded community education. It answers a call in that research to isolate and investigate the outcomes of community education not wholly funded through DES. This research explores the learner outcomes and impact of a group of community education centres operating from a distinct model of community education, named in this report as the social action model of community education. The features of this model are: attending to social recognition of learners and addressing barriers to learning; reaching disadvantaged learners; fostering critical reflection; ensuring experiential learning, and preparation for social action and community development. All participating centres are members of the AONTAS Community Education Network (CEN) and the hope is to use this research in the CEN's work to contribute to the visibility and value of community education. A wide variety of benefits to learning were investigated including civic and social engagement, health and progression outcomes. According to the research about it, DES funded community education implements a variety of different approaches to community education. This research uses the same methodology employed for the DES research such that strategic comparisons can be made between that provision and provision that attempts to implement one approach. The main methods used were a survey of 285 learners from the 27 participating centres, a survey of the managers of all the centres involved, case studies of 6 centres, and interviews with key informants who could have strategic discussions about the model of community education investigated herein. The survey sample was representative of the learners and the types of courses provided across the centres. Findings reveal that the providers in this research are successful in reaching disadvantaged learners, which is an important feature of the model of community education explored here, but certain groups, such as men, lone parents, Travellers and non-nationals are under-represented. The research suggests that recruitment of under-represented target groups could be improved with more intensive outreach. The research shows how, in order to implement the elements of the social action model of community education, tutors/ facilitators require a specialist set of competences. The research suggests that there is potential for the participating centres to make a more explicit link between the critical reflection skills they foster in learners and encouragement to challenge social relations through more radical forms of active citizenship rather than just volunteering or voting. Appended are: (1) Research Eligibility Criteria; (2) Case Study Questions for Managers; and (3) Strategic Interview Questions. (Contains 23 figures, 18 tables and 84 footnotes.)
AONTAS The National Adult Learning Organisation. 2nd Floor 83-87 Main Street, Ranelagh, Dublin 6, D6 Ireland. Tel: +353-1406-8220; Fax: +353-1406-8227; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: Adult Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: AONTAS The National Adult Learning Organisation
Identifiers - Location: Ireland