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Informal adult & community learning resources

Department for Business, Innovation and Skills logo The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has brought together a wide range of resources specially designed to support anyone with a passion for creating, supporting or delivering high quality informal learning.

Whether you want to develop your skills as a learning facilitator, create a learning culture at work, find out how technology can support informal learning or get information about how you can open up a space for learning, there’s advice and help here for you.

What is informal adult learning?

Informal adult and community learning is learning for its own sake rather than to get a qualification. It covers a wide spectrum of activities from personal development through to family learning, community development and employability.

This kind of learning makes a big contribution to the health and wellbeing of individuals, families and communities.

  • To find out more about informal adult and community learning, and how it supports a wide range of national policies, visit the BIS website.

Who are these resources for?

Many different individuals and organisations are actively involved in informal learning. You might be supported by public funds, employed by a private business, lead a self-organised group or work for a voluntary organisation.

These resources will help you develop, deliver and/or support informal learning in places like libraries, museums, community centres, unionlearn centres, extended schools, children’s centres, colleges and workplaces.

The resources are grouped into the following nine categories. Click on a category below (or in the left-hand menu) to access it.

Adult learning projects

Information about local informal adult learning projects across England. Also links to a range of resources produced by the projects, including films, photos, audio tours and learning materials.

Digital inclusion

Websites and resources for teachers, tutors and informal leaders of adult learning on using technology in informal adult learning

Working with older people

Links to resources and guidance materials for practitioners who are supporting older people with informal adult learning, including specific guidance for local authorities, care managers and learning providers

Working with local communities

Resources, guidance and support for informal adult learning providers working with their local communities. Includes advice and guidance for community learning champions and third sector organisations.

Family learning

A large suite of free teaching and learning materials, plus case studies and access to support networks for practitioners involved in all kinds of family learning activities.

Workplace learning

Links to web resources and support for employers wanting to develop informal adult learning for their employees, and support for Union Learning Representatives on good practice, training and development.

Opening up spaces for learning

Guidance and advice on how organisations can open up spaces for informal adult learning, including specific guidance for colleges.

Finding learning opportunities

Points you to a unique website dedicated to connecting people wanting to learn, with people wanting to teach. Offering a wealth of learning opportunities, find tutors and courses in your local area.

More resources

Information, advice and guidance for those who support informal adult learning, including a website dedicated to using technology in learning and downloadable resources.