Probing the Icebergs of Adult Learning: Comparative Findings and Implications of the 1998, 2004 and 2010 Canadian Surveys of Formal and Informal Learning Practices


  • David Walker Livingstone University of Toronto



surveys of formal and informal learning, learning and work


This paper summarizes the findings of the 2010 Work and Lifelong Learning (WALL) survey of self-reported further education and intentional informal learning activities of Canadian adults and compares them with the results of the 2004 WALL survey and the 1998 New Approaches to Lifelong Learning (NALL) survey on the same subject. Basic profiles of participation in further education courses and intentional informal learning activities related to employment, housework, community volunteer work, and general interests are presented. In addition to being one of the most highly formally educated populations in the world, Canadians quite rapidly increased their participation in further education over the past generation.  They continued to devote much more of their time to an array of informal learning activities. However, Canadian adults’ array of formal and informal learning efforts face relatively diminishing opportunities for application in jobs as they are currently structured.

Author Biography

David Walker Livingstone, University of Toronto

Canada Research Chair in Lifelong Learning and Work, Professor Emeritus, Department of Sociology and Equity Studies, OISE/UT


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How to Cite

Livingstone, D. W. (2012). Probing the Icebergs of Adult Learning: Comparative Findings and Implications of the 1998, 2004 and 2010 Canadian Surveys of Formal and Informal Learning Practices. Canadian Journal for the Study of Adult Education, 25(1), 47–71.