Socioeconomic contributions of adult learning to community: A social capital perspective

J Balatti, Ian Falk

    Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debate


    As an explanatory concept that relates skills and knowledge to economic outcomes, human capital has dominated for decades. Skills and knowledge are certainly central attributes of a learning society. Given the limitations of economy as a proxy for social well-being, however, two outstanding questions about the impact of adult learning on community linger: What are the multiple impacts of adult learning on community? How do these occur? To address these questions adequately, the theoretical construct of social capital is proving useful. This article examines the impacts of such a nebulous entity as adult learning on diverse socioeconomic domains, and it looks at how these impacts occur. Outcomes of learning are discussed against the eight Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development indicators of social well-being. Social capital-its networks, trust, and shared values-emerges as the missing link in explaining the integrated role of knowledge and identity resources in generating adult learning benefits.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)281-298
    Number of pages18
    JournalAdult Education Quarterly
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2002


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