• Where possible, work with learners and employers to identify an authentic problem.

• Spend time understanding the problem.

• Explore what learners already know about the problem.

• Be clear what knowledge and skills students will need to be able to tackle the problem and, where necessary, specifically teach this if it is not yet present.

• Think about the different group roles needed and prepare students to be able to play these.

• Encourage group critique of work in progress.

• Create support structures for learners who may find some aspects of this less structured learning challenging.

• Provide multiple opportunities for reflection.

• Think creatively about how students can share their findings as authentically as possible.

• Ensure the summative assessment process matches the intended learning outcomes and allows students to demonstrate the full extent of their learning.

• Play the role of an informed facilitator and coach throughout the process.

Professor Bill Lucas and Dr Janet Hanson are based in the University of Winchester’s Centre for Real-World Learning. They are currently exploring problem-based learning with the support of the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Comino Foundation.

Jonathan Michie is professor of innovation and knowledge exchange, president of Kellogg College, and director of the Department for Continuing Education at the University of Oxford. He was co-secretary to the Centenary Commission on Adult Education. jonathan.michie@

based learning: definitions and distinctions. Interdisciplinary Journal of Problem Based Learning, 1(1).

• Wilder, S. (2015). Impact of problem-based learning on academic achievement in high school: a systematic review. Educational Review, 67(4), 414-435.



By Professor Jonathan Michie Prime Minister Lloyd George established the Ministry of Reconstruction to consider how the country might emerge from the First World War. The resulting Final Report on Adult Education was published in November 1919. One hundred years on, the Centenary Commission on Adult

Education has published an evidence-based report called A Permanent National Necessity – the phrase used to describe adult education in that 1919 Report. The report calls for a renewed commitment to adult education

and lifelong learning. In his preface, Andy Haldane, the Bank of England’s Chief Economist, describes the recommendations as “powerful and compelling”. Artificial Intelligence and automation increasingly demand an educated workforce with capabilities of imagination, innovation and team-working. The need for an electorate to be able to think critically and weigh evidence has also become more important with the growth of social media and ‘fake news’. The Centenary Commission urges a national strategy for adult education and lifelong learning, delivered through local and regional Adult Learning Partnerships to which everyone should contribute, and from which we would all benefit. It means universities and further education providers, local authorities, employers and voluntary groups cooperating in co-producing adult and community education courses, and providing them on a sustained basis. For this, local authorities need at least £250 million a year to be able to deliver not just library services but, in collaboration with others, adult and community education – services restored as a statutory duty. Funding for adult community education services and further education providers should be increased by £1 billion a year, with an additional £50 million a year for organisations such as the Workers’ Educational Association (WEA) and other institutes of adult learning. Along with Individual Learning Accounts, the Commission

advocates a Community Learning Account of £50 million a year, rising to £100 million per annum over three years. It also recommends an Innovation and Development Fund of £50 million per annum, rising to £100 million, to support innovation in community and informal education. The Commission is very grateful to those who provided a wide range of verbal and written evidence, and to organisations hosting case study visits around the country.

• The Report is downloadable free of charge from REFERENCES

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