AONTAS Research

We conduct robust, evidence-based research into adult education, community education, and Further Education and Training (FET). We mainly do this through the National FET Learner Forum and research into community education in Ireland.

The National Further Education and Training (FET) Learner Forum:

Learner Voice is at the heart of AONTAS’ work. It is a concept in education that means that learners should have a say in decisions about their own education. It means that those who learn, not just those who teach, should influence the educational experience.

The National FET Learner Forum is a series of events taking place across Ireland, which facilitate adult learners to share their experiences of learning. This is the basis of our advocacy work and is used to ensure further education and training policy is responding to the needs of the learners themselves.

Since its launch, the Forum has reached thousands of learners. The project consists of one national event and a series of regional events held at Education and Training Boards across Ireland each year. We are here to listen to the voices of adult learners from across Ireland. We share the experiences of adult learners with SOLAS and the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science.

This means change happens from the ground up.

Lifelong Learning Participation Research Project:

National statistics show a drop in Further Education and Training participation levels among vulnerable groups of people, particularly those experiencing disadvantage. This includes lone parents, those from working class communities and those in lower-skilled employment.

AONTAS is conducting research with adult and community education groups across Ireland to gather evidence-based, quality data about the experiences of people who have found it hard to engage in learning, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic and since then, or who left a course or education programme. The goal is to find solutions to the exacerbation of educational inequality as a result of the pandemic.

For more on this research, check out AONTAS Lifelong Learning Research

For up-to-date information on AONTAS Research, follow us on Twitter/X, Facebook and LinkedIn with the hashtags:

#LearnerVoice and #FETLearnerForum

New research findings: Learners' Voices Across Ireland report 2023

We recently launched the Learners' Voices Across Ireland report at the AONTAS Adult Education Summit in November 2023. With the latest evidence-based research findings from National FET Learner Forum and brand-new, robust data on the impact of adult learning and Further Education and Training, the report shines a light on the voices of learners from across the country. We're working together to make equal access to quality education a reality for everyone.



The value of FET
"Being part of further education has helped me to find new friends and it’s helped me with my confidence"

Importance of Learner Voice
"They need to know our needs. If we’re at the centre of it, they need to know what we want, what we decide"

Improvements To FET Advertisement
"Why is FET not advertised like the other schools and universities when we are doing similar things?"

Funded by

  • Learning works
  • Government of Ireland