Purposeful learning

One of the key research principles that underlies EFF is the concept of purposeful and transparent teaching and learning. The research tells us that we undertake learning activities "not merely as ends in themselves, but as means for achieving larger objectives and goals that have meaning in the community." (Scribner, 1987). Adults have reasons for learning and the better we understand and respond to those reasons, the more likely it is that adults will stay engaged and persist in education programs.

EFF practitioners pay close attention to purpose by:

  • listening to the purposes adults have for attending the program
  • building curriculum that responds to those purposes
  • making sure that students understand the purpose of the learning activities and how they relate to student goals

As well, EFF programs often invite students to think about the four fundamental purposes for learning that were identified through the writings of hundreds of adult learners:

  • to gain access to information and resources so they can orient themselves in the world,
  • to give voice to their ideas and opinions with the confidence that they will be heard and taken into account,
  • to solve problems and make decisions on their own, acting independently as parents, citizens, and workers, for the good of their families, their communities and their nation,
  • to keep learning in order to keep up with the rapidly changing world

To read more about the research and practice related to purposeful and transparent education, please see:

EFF Research to Practice Note #1: A Purposeful and Transparent Approach to Teaching and Learning and Results That Matter: An Approach to Program Quality Using Equipped for the Future.