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The University of Southampton
Southampton Education School

Research Group: Lifelong and Work-Related Learning (LaWRL) Research Centre

Currently Active: 

Research in the Lifelong and Work-related Learning Research Centre is located within the changing relationship between education, the economy and society.

Members are particularly interested in shifting patterns of participation in and transitions between Further, Higher and Adult Education, and in the opportunities individuals at different life-stages and from different socio-economic, educational and employment backgrounds, have for personal, educational, vocational and professional development. The Centre’s view of learning is inclusive, covering the experience of learning at work, in the community and in colleges, universities and other formal educational and training settings. This leads to a research and practice interest in pedagogy and the possibilities that digital technologies are providing for widening access and enhancing learner experience. Our research focus is clearly linked to public policy formation and analysis in the areas of education, training, skills, qualifications and employment. Geographically, members’ interests are grounded in national, European and international contexts and their diverse landscapes of organisational structures and cultures. The centre for Lifelong and Work-related Learning currently hosts the Higher Education Research Special Interest Group.

LaWRL members are interested in the following core research themes and in exploring the ways in which they inter-relate, as well as the implications for creating more flexible and better supported approaches to learning and managing transitions:

Educational and Career Decision-Making

Teaching and Learning through the Life-Course 

Design and Utilisation of Digital Technologies

Work-related and Workplace Learning

A range of major funded projects and other research projects have been undertaken in recent years including for the Economic and Social Research Council, Department for Education and Skills, Higher Education Careers Services Unit, Equal Opportunities Commission, South East of England Development Agency, Social Work and Social Policy Subject Centre at the Higher Education Academy. These have given rise to a range of publications and outputs.

LaWRL plays a strategic role in the development of the School’s research culture, publications, activity and profile as well as contributing to the development of staff and research student projects through its regular mentoring arrangements, meetings and events.

Contact: Professor Alison Fuller.

International links

We have strong links in China with Xiamen, Shanghai Jiaotong and East China Normal Universities and we are developing a range of collaborative research activities.

We are working on the University Reform, Globalisation and Education project with colleagues from the Universities of Aarhus, Auckland and Bristol, and with the Global Regionalisms, Governance and Higher Education research group.

As part of the EU’s Leonardo programme, we are conducting research on hybrid qualifications with colleagues from Germany, Austria and Denmark.

We are keen to collaborate with people and organisations from inside and outside academia. Please get in touch.

Alison Fuller - Professor
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