Keynote at European Union from Ellen Boeren on Adult Learning Participation and Motivation - Brussels 17/18 April 2024


Professor Ellen Boeren gave a keynote presentation at the Lifelong Learning Conference, which took place in Brussels on 17 and 18 April 2024. Organised by the Belgian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, this event was attended by a wide range of relevant lifelong learning stakeholders from across the European Union. Keynotes, panel discussions and workshops delved deeper into topics of European lifelong learning policies, the role of incentives to enable learner motivation, skills for the green and digital transition and the role of governance, evidence-based policy-making and the showcasing of lifelong learning approaches adopted by universities. Ellen’s keynote presentation discussed the evidence behind participation and motivation in learning, drawing on newly released data from the Eurostat Adult Education Survey. Her talk focussed on the role of system-level determinants of participation and the lack of willingness to participate in learning among significant proportions of the adult population. She further explained the need for well-tailored incentives to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of support mechanisms. During a separate workshop later in the day, Ellen introduced the audience to the fluctuations in how different survey programmes measure participation in adult learning and education. This was done through reflection on results generated as part of the ongoing ESRC Project: A UK-Ireland investigation into the statistical evidence-base underpinning adult learning and education policy-making. More details about the project can be found at

Discussion topics: 

CR&DALL Themes: