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Report on an evaluation of five Learning Centres


The Learning Centres aimed to increase participation in and widen access to lifelong learning in local, rural communities. The evaluation aimed to ascertain: how funding was spent and what has been gained from this; the level of use; what learning has been achieved and what, if anything, has been gained from the learning; and the value to the economy by the provision of learning centres. It also aimed to identify weaknesses and make recommendations for improvement.


The methodology consisted of: a questionnaire and interviews with centre managers/co-ordinators, learners and non-participants from five learning centres. Interviews were also arranged with managers of four other learning centres for comparison.


Presents individual assessments of the five Learning Centres. Finds that Dumfries and Galloway College is the Centres’ key accreditation body, limiting their menu of learning programmes. Notes that impacts from the Centres include: the provision of a small number of local employment opportunities; the local spending of aspects of revenue budgets; and Dumfries and Galloway College are securing additional students. Comments that it is difficult to measure the Centres’ additionality and learners moving back into or through the employment market as a result of the Centres. Some premises of particular Centres will limit their ability to grow and develop. Concludes the Learning Centres are providing a valuable service for existing users. Suggests it is difficult to determine the long-term viability of centres.


Recommends reconsidering the role of Dumfries and Galloway College in the operation of the Learning Centres. Suggests that SE Dumfries and Galloway: convene a short-life working group to establishing a common service level agreement; develop a management information system to be utilised by the Learning Centres; work with the Lifelong Learning Partnership to consider funding options and establishing mobile facilities; and work with Learning Centres to include greater course choice and progression pathways.

Author Duncan Cameron and Margaret MacLachlan, CM associates
Published Year 2009
Report Type Evaluation
  • Equity
    Rural Development
  • Labour Market and Skills
    Skills Development