Presentation Details

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The Eleventh International Literacy and Education Research Network Conference on Learning

Delayed Learning: Adults Seeking Higher Education

Dr Sharon Broughton.

The highest (and increasing) proportion of learners in higher education in Australia are adults. Some of these adults have delayed their learning because they either did not finish secondary schooling or did not continue on to higher education immediately. The research presented in the paper is concerned with the former group, those who have no formal prerequisites for gaining entry to higher education and have to find an alternative pathway if they wish to reengage with education at the higher level. One such pathway is tertiary preparation/access programs. This paper examines, firstly, the reasons given for seeking reengagement with education by predominantly low socioeconomic adults applying for admission to a tertiary access program for the years 1998-2003, and secondly, the 'success' of the learners in completing the tertiary access course and enrolling in university studies. The focus of the research is gender, equity and access in the context of lifelong learning, low socioeconomic status, and pathways. The findings show that, for this group, delayed learning is an attempt to overcome perceived negative life experiences (personal and/or work related), and that 'enlightenment' is usually the catalyst for renewing the relationship with formal learning.


Dr Sharon Broughton  (Australia)
Lecturer/Coordinator, Tertiary Access Program
Student Equity Services
Griffith University

I currently lecture in and coordinate the Griffith University-Logan TAFE Tertiary Access Program. My research interests are gender, adult education and learning pathways.

  • Lifelong Learning
  • Low Socioeconomic Status
  • Adult Learners
  • Equity and Access

(30 min. Conference Paper, English)