© 2016

Lifelong Learning Participation in a Changing Policy Context

An Interdisciplinary Theory


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-x
  2. Introduction

    1. Ellen Boeren
      Pages 1-5
  3. Background

  4. The Contribution of Disciplines to an Interdisciplinary Theory

  5. Advancing Research and Practice

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 149-149
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 178-205

About this book


Drawing on the role of individuals, education and training providers and countries' social policy actions, and borrowing insights from psychology, sociology and economics, this book works towards an interdisciplinary theory of adult lifelong learning participation. It explores the fragmented evidence of why adults do or do not participate in adult lifelong learning activities and focuses on the relevance of policy, the social character and expected benefits of lifelong learning participation and discusses the potential implications for policy, practice and research.


Lifelong learning adult education participation interdisciplinary research education policy behavior education Integration learning lifelong learning psychology social policy sociology

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Moray House School of EducationUniversity of EdinburghUK

About the authors

Ellen Boeren is Chancellor's Fellow at the Moray House School of Education, University of Edinburgh, UK. She obtained her PhD at the University of Leuven (Belgium). Her research agenda mainly focuses on the participation of adults in lifelong learning. She is the Programme Director of the University of Edinburgh's Master in Educational Research.

Bibliographic information


“Boeren does an excellent job in arguing that there is a need for adult lifelong learning participation to be studied via an integrative interdisciplinary theory and to be perceived as a shared responsibility. … the reviewed book is a valuable contribution to the field and is a must-read piece for anyone who is interested in adult lifelong learning and/or cares about its future.” (Petya Ilieva-Trichkova, International Journal of Lifelong Education, August 27, 2019)

“Ellen Boeren’s book aims to summarise the main findings of participation research done so far. The book is well-structured, and starts with definitions and a description of the problems related to adult participation. … Training providers and adult educators will also benefit from reading this book. The book also serves researchers who are not familiar with participation research, and want to have a quick, first general overview over what we know about participation so far.” (Jyri Manninen, International Review of Education, Vol. 64 (05), October, 2018)

“Boeren ably covers the full gamut of topics that either hinder or advance adult participation in lifelong learning programs. One of the strengths of this book are the multiple scales that Boeren uses to build her interdisciplinary theory, which is designed to identify the barriers and openings to adults’ participation in lifelong learning programs. … The policies suggested by Boeren have transcendent properties in the sense that they are applicable to adult lifelong learning policymakers … .” (Scott MacPhail, Adult Education Quarterly, February, 2019)