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Adult Education and Lifelong Learning

As part of this substudy conducted by the National Educational Panel Study (NEPS), data on educational and professional careers as well as on competence acquisition across adult life courses are being collected.

In order to be able to study adult education, the entire spectrum of educational activities and learning processes (formal, non-formal, and informal), and decisions resulting in their participation, as well as the respondents' previous life course (especially the course of education and occupation, relationships, and children) are recorded in detail. Similar to the lack of knowledge concerning adult education in Germany, very little information is available on competencies and their changes after school. This is why this substudy collects data on competencies in reading, mathematics, sciences, and ICT literacy as well as data on noncognitive skills (such as personality, motivation, and social skills).

The data should enable researchers to the following questions:

  • Which educational and employment trajectories are observed in Germany?
  • For what reasons do individuals participate in formal, non-formal or informal learning activities after initial education?
  • How do the competencies of individuals differ and develop, and what role does the employment situation play in this?
  • How do specific educational contexts in adulthood (especially employment situation and family constellation) affect educational decisions and participation in further education?
  • What are the returns (e.g., wages, employment careers, well-being, or social engagement) of formal qualifications, further education, skills and work experience?
  • What skills and resources do migrants possess and to what extent do they participate in further education?
  • What opportunities and barriers occur in learning processes and education in late adulthood?
  • What impact does technological change and digitization have on educational and employment trajectories?

The field time of the adult survey already started in 2007, that is, prior to the foundation of the National Educational Panel Study (NEPS). The adult survey 2007/08 was conducted by the Institute for Employment Research (IAB) under the name of “Working and Learning in a Changing World” (ALWA). After that, the data collection of the adult survey continued under the umbrella of the NEPS from November 2009 to June 2010. This was followed by annual follow-up surveys. In the fourth survey wave in 2011/12 the sample survey was conducted once again to acquire new respondents.

Starting Cohort Adults

Data Release Schedule