Literacies for Learning in Further Education
~ A Further and Higher Education Research Project ~
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Introduction to the project

The Literacies for Learning in Further Education (LfLFE) project was a collaboration between two universities - Stirling and Lancaster - and four colleges, Anniesland, Lancaster and Morecambe, Preston and Perth. The Project was funded for three years by the Economic and Social Research Council from January 2004, as part of Phase III of its £28 million Teaching and Learning Research Programme. The LfLFE project was one of only 12 projects to be funded from over 250 original submissions.


Theoretical background

The LfLFE project does not focus on basic skills but rather on literacy practices which enable students to succeed in learning across the curriculum. Literacy practices are crucial resources for learning across the curriculum and throughout the life-course. There is growing evidence that the learning outcomes of students in Further Education are often undermined by the difficulties imposed by the literacy demands of their courses. Yet recent theory and research in literacy studies suggests that students who appear to have low levels of literacy in educational settings can be highly literate in other domains of life: in their work, domestic, community and leisure activities.

This project focused on the use, refinement and diversification of literacy practices as students participate in Further Education courses. It used ethnographic and collaborative research methods, including interviews and observation to investigate the resources students bring with them to their studies and the requirements of their courses.


Summary of the Aims of the Research

A major objective of the research was to uncover actual and potential overlaps and connections between literacy practices in students’ everyday lives, the literacy demands of their courses and the uses of literacy in the workplaces in which they are hoping to gain employment. Aims of the research included:

  • to identify literacy practices in people's everyday lives that might enable them to engage successfully in learning in Further Education;
  • to design, implement and evaluate programmes aimed at mobilising and developing students' literacy capabilities for success on their courses, for learning through life, and for the emergent literacy demands of their lives;
  • to make comparisons between England and Scotland, between policy contexts, curricula, and different student populations;
  • to develop research partnerships between Higher and Further Education in order to enhance research capacity and evidence-based practice in Further Education.


About the research


Introduction to the project


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