Data in the Field of Adult Education and Lifelong Learning: Present Situation, Improvements and Challenges
Over the last years, political and scientific debates have stressed the growing importance of adult education. Currently important research questions call not only for data sources that collect detailed information on adult education with repeated measurements and in different cohorts, but they should also include data on other life spheres such as education and working histories, partnership and household information, as well as competence development. In Germany, there are several large-scale datasets containing information on adult education. While general panel studies do not provide a systematic overview of educational activities of adults, studies focusing on adult education are either small-scale or cross-sectional and contain little context information. A study that covers information on all educational activities in the life course as well as repeated competence assessment is still missing. In part, these deficits will be resolved by large-scale longitudinal studies focused on adults and education that were either recently conducted or are currently prepared. Thus, we do not call for new data sources on adult education. What is far more important in the next years is analyzing the data of the new large-scale data sources thoroughly, but also developing new theoretical approaches to adult education.
Keywords: adult education, further education, lifelong learning, continuing training, life course, competencies, data access