Thursday, September 19th, 2013

Poll exposes significant barriers to learning

Resource shortages emerge as critical roadblock to ongoing education

Inadequate support infrastructure and a lack of guidance have emerged as significant deterrents to further education, according to an online poll by careers and distance education specialist Career FAQS

Nearly a quarter of Australian respondents reported feeling “uncertain where to start” when presented with the question, “What’s the number one thing stopping you from learning something new?”

Participants were asked to select from a multiple-choice matrix, with 47 per cent of those surveyed identifying cost as the primary obstacle.

A further 23 per cent of participants – the second largest group – indicated that despite possessing a desire to continue their education, the absence of a sufficient support network created uncertainty and hesitation in undertaking further study.

The poll was conducted as part of a series of events celebrating Adult Learners’ Week, with data collected over a period of two weeks.
Sally Thompson, CEO of Adult Learning Australia, says the findings represent a worrying snapshot of the current provision of adult learning services in Australia.

“Adult Learning Australia is very concerned that the first steps on a pathway of lifelong learning are becoming harder for adults to access. There is growing evidence of state governments in particular withdrawing resources for community-based learning and literacy.”

With almost half of all Australian adults considered functionally illiterate, the need to foster and encourage sustained learning activities has never been greater.

Ready access to resources including tutors, guidance counsellors and community development officers could go a long way towards remedying this, says Career FAQs Managing Director, Will Santow.
“Career FAQs itself was conceived as a result of my own quest for information. At times of career change or decision-making about my next professional move, I would try to get my hands on empowering, high-quality, up-to-date career information that related specifically to the market in which I wanted to work. I found very little available.”

Establishing a more extensive support network, including information and resource toolkits for all types of learners, underpins Adult Learning Australia’s vision for ‘Lifelong and Lifewide Learning for All Australians’.

“Removing obstacles to ongoing learning will see us make leaps and bounds towards achieving transparent, accessible and affordable education for all.”

In 2005, Career FAQs established itself as the leading publisher of 45 diverse career guides that met a pressing need for quality Australian career and educational resources. Now a wholly online operation, with fresh content posted daily, the Career FAQs website gets around 400,000 visitors/month and features well over 600 nationally recognised, accredited online university and TAFE courses, along with up-to-date career news, tips and advice for anyone and everyone who is interested in their career.

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Career FAQS

Career FAQS was established in 2005 to meet a pressing need for quality Australian career and educational resources. It now features over 600 nationally recognised, accredited online courses and up-to-date news, tips and advice for anyone and everyone who is interested in their career.
Andrea Riddell


further education, education, online learning, Australian education



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