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Participatory Research into Adult Digital Skills

2023 –

Supported by UK Research & Innovation and the Young Foundation – through the Community Knowledge Fund – MadLab is establishing a Community Research Centre for Adult Digital Skills in Greater Manchester. This ambitious initiative aims to revolutionise adult digital skills training by creating inclusive learning programmes and making evidence-based recommendations towards improving participation and engagement, particularly for young adults from underserved communities across Greater Manchester.

Over the course of the  next year – working in collaboration with members of MadLab’s Shift Click learning community – we intend to co-design and co-deliver a series of "investigational prototypes”. These investigations will seek to provide essential insights and data; addressing the current paucity of evidence-based understanding of adult digital skills learning and the barriers faced by young people, particularly those at greater risk of digital exclusion. In doing so, we aim to:

  • Generate actionable insights, uncovering what makes community-powered digital skills training attractive and engaging for its participants
  • Improve the impact and reach of MadLab’s skills programmes, whilst sharing best practices with others in the field.
  • Further strengthen the case for our distinctive “semi-formal” approach, as a maximally inclusive alternative to other established pathways into the region’s digital industry.

This initiative underlines MadLab's long-term commitment to participatory R&D, charting the course for future community research endeavours – in partnership with other like-minded organisations from across the public, private, academic, and voluntary sectors.

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