Adults' use of ICTs for learning: reducing or increasing educational inequalities?

Neil Selwyn, Stephen Gorard, John Furlong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Within the hyperbole surrounding information and communications technologies (ICTs) and lifelong learning, our understanding of what learning activities ICTs are actually being used for throughout the adult population remains under-developed. Based on a household survey of 1001 adults in the west of England and South Wales, this article considers who amongst the adult population is using ICTs and what they are using them for. Moreover, the article also takes time to consider who is not using ICTs for learning given the widespread claims made about ICTs' potential for social inclusion. The survey data show that within adults' use of computers and the Internet, education and learning are minority activities, most commonly taking the form of informal learning at home. Moreover, any educative use of ICTs appears to be patterned by a number of social factors. In particular, logistic regression analysis shows that whether or not an individual uses ICTs for educative purposes can be predicted (with 82% accuracy) by the five variables of age, gender, educational background, occupational class and area of residence. The article concludes by discussing these findings in relation to the United Kingdom Government's present lifelong learning agenda.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)269-290
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Vocational Education and Training
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2004
Externally publishedYes

Cite this