Dionysios Gouvias, Chryssi Vitsilakis, Apostolos Kostas


One of the basic measures to increase the overall participation of adults in Lifelong Learning (LLL) is removing barriers to participation. In this paper, we will focus on the case of Greece, through an examination of a series of LLL courses offered by a Greek university through e-learning methods. We will examine the theoretical underpinnings that supported this introduction, and then we will present data regarding: i) the participants’ characteristics; ii) the main factors that led them to participate; iii) their evaluation of the courses. Our findings show that e-learning is a new reality for Greece, which needs to be investigated on many levels, with diverse factors being taken into consideration: from wider socio-economic structures, to organizational settings at middle and local level; from national-level legal frameworks to individual characteristics.


Article visualizations:

Hit counter



lifelong learning; e-learning; online distance learning; adult education; Greece

Full Text:



Anderson, T. & Elloumi, F. (Eds.). (2004). Theory and practice of online learning. Canada: Athabasca University Press.

Anderson, T., Poellhuber, B. & McKerlich, R. (2010). Self-Paced Learners Meet Social Software: An Exploration of Learners' Attitudes, Expectations and Experience. Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration, 13(3).

Atan, H., Sulaiman, F., Rahman, Z.A. & Idrus, R.M. (2002). Gender Differences in Availability, Internet Access and Rate of Usage of Computers among Distance Education Learners. Education Media International, 39 (3-4), 205-210. doi: 10.1080/09523980210166459.Barbera, E., Clara, M., Linder-Vanberschot, J.A. (2013). Factors Influencing Student Satisfaction and Perceived Learning in Online Courses. E-Learning and Digital Media, 10(3), 226-235.

Becker, G. (1993) [1964]. Human capital: a theoretical and empirical analysis, with special reference to education (3rd ed.). Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

Botha, J. & Coetzee, M. (2016). The Influence of Biographical Factors on Adult Learner Self-Directedness in an Open Distance Learning Environment. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 17(4). doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.19173/irrodl.v17i4.2345.

Bourdieu, P. (1986). The forms of capital. In J. Richardson (Ed.) Handbook of Theory and Research for the Sociology of education (pp. 241-258). Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.

Bozick, R. (2007). Making It through the First Year of College: The Role of Students' Economic Resources, Employment, and Living Arrangements. Sociology of Education, 80 (3), 261-285.

Coldwell, J., Craig, A., Paterson, T. & Mustard, J. (2008). Online students: Relationships between participation, demographics and academic performance. The Electronic Journal of e-Learning, 6(1), 19-28. Retrieved January 17, 2018, from: http://iucontent.iu.edu.sa/Scholars/InformationTechnology/OnlineStudents RelationshipsbetweenParticipation,DemographicsandAcademicPerformance.pdf.

Creighton, S. & Hudson, L. (2002). Participation trends and patterns in adult education: 1991 to 1999 (NCES 2002-119). U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.

Cuban, L. (2001). Oversold and underused: computers in the classroom. Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press.

Dondi, C., Moretti, M. & Nascimbeni, F. (2006). Quality of e-learning: Negotiating a strategy, implementing a policy. In U.D. Ehlers & J.M. Pawlowski (Eds.), Handbook on quality and standardization in e-learning (pp. 31–50). Berlin: Springer.

Economist Intelligent Unit (EIU) (2003). The 2003 E-learning readiness rankings. The Economist Intelligence Unit Limited. Retrieved on February 16, 2016, from http://graphics.eiu.com/files/ad_pdfs/eReady_2003.pdf.

Edgell, S. (2006). The Sociology of Work – Continuity and Change in Paid and Unpaid Work. London: Sage.

EOPPEP [Hellenic National Organisation for the Certification of Qualifications and Vocational Guidance] (2016). Greece EQF Referencing Report (November). Retrieved from https://ec.europa.eu/ploteus/sites/eac-eqf/files/Greece _EQF_Referencing_Report.pdf.

European Commission (2000). A Memorandum on Lifelong Learning. Commission Staff Working Paper, 30.10.2000. Brussels. Available at: http://europa.eu.int [date of access: 16.11.2012].

European Commission (2013). Women Active in the ICT Sector. Brussels. Retrieved from: http://europa.eu.int.

European Commission. (2016). Annex 1: Tackling low skills: The skills guarantee. Brussels: European Commission.

Frydenberg, J. (2002). Quality standards in e-learning: A matrix of analysis. The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 3(2). Retrieved on February 18, 2016, from: http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/viewArticle/109/189.

Garrison, R. & Kanuka, H. (2004). Blended learning: Uncovering it transformative potential in higher education. The Internet and Higher Education, 7(2), 95-105.

Garrison, D. R., Anderson, T., Archer, W. (2001). Critical thinking, cognitive presence, and computer conferencing in distance education. American Journal of Distance Education, 15(1), 7-23. doi: 10.1080/08923640109527071

Giavrimis, P., Papanis, E., Mitrellou. S. & Nikolarea, E. (2009). Lifelong learning and vocational training programmes in Northern Aegean (Greece): weaknesses, possibilities and prospects. International Journal of Lifelong Education, 28(5), 583-600. doi: 10.1080/02601370903190136

Gorard, S. & Selwyn, N. (2005). Towards a le@rning society? The impact of technology on patterns of participation in lifelong learning. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 26(1), 71-89.

Govindasamy, T. (2001). Successful implementation of e-Learning; Pedagogical considerations. The Internet and Higher Education, 4, 287-299.

Greek Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs (GMNERA) (2005). L. 3369/2005: ‘Systematization of Lifelong Learning and other provisions’. Athens: Governmental Printing Office (in Greek).

Greek Ministry of National Education, Life-long Learning and Religious Affairs (GMNELLRA) (2010). L. 3879/2010 (A163/21.9.2010): ‘Development of Lifelong Learning and other provisions’. Athens: Governmental Printing Office (in Greek).

GMNELLRA (2013). L. 4115/2013 (A24/30.1.2013): ‘Enhancing of Lifelong Learning in Greece’. Athens: Governmental Printing Office (in Greek).

Greek Ministry of Education, Research and Religious Affairs (GMERRA) (2017). L. 4486/2017 (A114/4.8.2017): ‘Organization and Operation of Higher Education, and other provisions’. Athens: Governmental Printing Office (in Greek).

Hamid, A. (2001). E-Learning; Is it the ‘e’ or the learning that matters?. The Internet and Higher Education, 4, 311-316.

Harasim, L. (2000). ‘Shift happens: online education as a new paradigm in learning’. The Internet and Higher Education, 3, 41-61.

Hellenic Statistical Authority (HSA) (2016). Labour Force Survey – November 2015 (seasonally adjusted). Press release, 11.2.2016. Retrieved from: www.statistics.gr/ (in Greek).

Hellenic Statistical Authority (HSA) (2017). Labour Force Survey – September 2017. Press release, 7.12.2017. Retrieved from: www.statistics.gr/ (in Greek).

Hlapanis G., Kordaki M. & Dimitracopoulou A (2006). Successful e-Courses: the role of Synchronous Communication and E-Moderation via Chat. Campus-Wide Information Systems, 23 (3), 171 - 181 (http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/10650740610674184).

Holmberg, B. (1983). Guided didactic conversation in distance education. In D. Sewart, D. Keegan & B. Holmberg (Eds.), Distance education: International perspectives (pp. 114-122). London: Croom Helm.

Holmberg, B. (1986). Growth and Structure of Distance Education. London: Croom Helm.

Holmberg, B. (1995). The Evolution of the Character and Practice of Distance Education. Open Learning, 10(2), 47-51.

Holzweiss, P.C., Joyner, S.A., Fuller, M.B., Henderson, S. & Young, R. (2015). Online graduate students’ perceptions of best learning experiences. Distance Education, 35(4), 311-323. doi: 10.1080/01587919.2015.95526.

Hrastinski, S. (2008). Asynchronous and Synchronous E-Learning. Educause Quarterly, 31 (4), 51-55.

Illinois Faculty Seminar (1999). Teaching at an Internet Distance: The Pedagogy of Online Teaching and Learning. The report of 1998-1999. University of Illinois Faculty Seminar. Retrieved on July 20, 2006, from: http://www.upoa. uillinois.edu/tid/report/tid_report.html.

Jara, M. & Mellar, H. (2007). Exploring the mechanisms for assuring quality of e- learning courses in UK higher education institutions. European Journal of Open and Distance Learning, 1. Retrieved on February 18, 2016, from: http://www.eurodl.org/materials/contrib/2007/Jara_Mellar.htm.

Jung, I. (2011). The dimensions of e-learning quality: from the learner’s perspective. Educational Technology Research and Development, 59(4), 445-464.

Jung, I. S. & Latchem, C. (2007). Assuring quality in Asian open and distance learning. Open Learning, 22(3), 235–250.

Karalis, T. (2013). Motives and barriers for adult participation in Lifelong Learning. Athens: INW-GSEE & IME-GSVEE (in Greek).

Kirkpatrick, D. (2005). Quality assurance in open and distance learning. Vancouver: Commonwealth of Learning. Retrieved from: http://www.col.org/SiteCollectionDocuments/KS2005_QA.pdf.

Knowles, M. (1990). The Adult Learner: A Neglected Species. Houston: Gulf Publishing Company.

Kostas, A., Tapsis, N. & Vitsilaki, C. (2016). Technologies for Blended E-Learning: Lessons Learned from a Postgraduate Program in Greece. INTED2016 Proceedings (pp. 2438-2444).

Kyrma, A. & Mavroidis, E. (2015). Distance education: panacea or barrier for conventional higher education? Open Education - The Journal for Open and Distance Education and Educational Technology, 20, 20-37. Retrieved on November 28, 2017 from: https://ejournals.epublishing.ekt.gr/index.php/ openjournal/article/viewFile/9818/9940.pdf

Larjanko, J. E. (2016). Skills and competencies. Bonn: The Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Lee, M.C. (2010). Explaining and predicting users’ continuance intention toward e- learning: An extension of the expectation–confirmation model. Computers & Education, 54 (2), 506-516.

Lieblein, E. (2000). Critical factors for successful delivery of on-line programs. The Internet and Higher Education, 3, 161-174.

Lin, K-M. (2010). E-Learning continuance intention: Moderating effects of user e- learning experience. Computers & Education, 56, 515-526.

Lu, H. P & Chiou, M. J. (2010). The impact of individual inferences on e-learning system satisfaction: A contingency approach. British Journal of Education Technology, 41, 307-323.

Mason, R. (1998). Models of Online Courses. ALN Magazine, 2(2). Retrieved on December 12, 2014, from: http://www- users.york.ac.uk/~ijc4/etutoring/week%201/Robin% 20Mason%20paper.doc.

Merriam, S. B. & Caffarella, R. S. (1999). Learning in adulthood. San Francisco: Jossey- Bass.

Morrison, D. (2004). E-learning strategies: how to get implementation and delivery right first time. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons.

National Centre for Education Statistics (NCES) (2004). National Household Education Surveys of 2001 – Participation in Adult Education and Lifelong Learning, 2000-01. U.S. Department of Education, National Centre for Education Statistics. Washington D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office.

OECD (2000). Literacy in the Information Age - Final Report of the International Adult Literacy Survey. Paris: Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, and the Minister of Industry, Canada.

OECD (2016a). Skills Outlook 2013: First Results from the Survey of Adult Skills. OECD Skills Studies. Paris: OECD.

OECD (2016b). Skills Matter: Further Results from the Survey of Adult Skills. OECD Skills Studies. Paris: OECD.

Pagge, A. (2012). Online e-learning programs, development, evaluation and scenarios of their use in Greece: the case of semantic web. PhD thesis. University of Ioannina, Department of Preschool Education. Ioannina, Greece. Retrieved on May 27, 2015, from: http://hdl.handle.net/10442/hedi/28451 (in Greek).

Pavlou, V. & Vryonides, M. (2009). Understanding factors that influence teachers’ acceptance of technology and actual computer use for teaching: the case of Greece. Mediterranean Journal of Educational Studies, 14 (2), 5-25.

Phipps, R. A. & Merisotis, J. P. (2000). Quality on the line: Benchmarks for success in internet-based education. Retrieved on February 18, 2016, from: http://www.ihep.org/assets/files/publications/m-r/Quality OnTheLine.pdf.

Pitzalis, M. & Porcu, M. (2017). Cultural capital and educational strategies. Shaping boundaries between groups of students with homologous cultural behaviours. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 38(7), 956-974. DOI: 10.1080/01425692.2016.1205968.

Ritzer, G. (2013). Introduction to Sociology. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Rosser, S. V. (2005). Women and ICT: global issues and actions. Proceedings of the International Symposium on Women and ICT: Creating Global Transformation, 34, 84–91. Retrieved from: https://doi.org/10.1145/1117417.1117419.

Rossiou, E. (2010). Utilization of Information and Communications Technologies, in combination with e-learning and online collaborative learning for the implementation of Virtual Classes in Higher Education. PhD thesis, University of Patras, Department of Applied Informatics. Patras, Greece. Retrieved on May 27, 2015, from: http://hdl.handle.net/10442/hedi/20823 (in Greek).

Rourke, L. & Kanuka, H. (2009). Learning in communities of inquiry: A review of the literature. International Journal of E-Learning & Distance Education, 23 (1): 19-48.

Schultz, T. (1971). Investment in human capital: the role of education. New York: Free Press.

Selwyn, N. & Gorard, S. (1999). ‘Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere’: Overcoming the Barrier of Space in Adult Education through the Use of Information & Communications Technology?. SCUTREA, 29th Annual Conference, University of Warwick.

Selwyn, N. & Gorard, S. (2002). Exploring the ‘New’ Moral and Technological Imperatives of Lifelong Learning. Paper presented to Demoralisation: Morality, Authority and Power Conference, Cardiff University.

Sofos, A, Kostas, A. & Paraschou, V. (2015). Online Distance Education – From theory to practice. Hellenic Electronic Textbooks for Higher Education (www.kallipos.gr) (in Greek).

Tapson, J. (2013, September 13). MOOCs and the Gartner Hype Cycle: A very slow tsunami. PandoDaily. Retrieved on January 20, 2018, from: http://pandodaily.com/2013/09/13/moocs-and-the-gartner-hype-cycle-a-very- slow-tsunami/.

Tearle, P. (2004). A theoretical and instrumental framework for implementing change in ICT in education. Cambridge Journal of Education, 34 (3), 331-351.

UNESCO (2014). Sustainable Development Begins with Education. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved on December 12, 2017, from: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0023/002305/230508e.pdf.

Valassidou, A. (2005). Success factors for distance education programmes based on new technologies. PhD thesis, University of Macedonia, Department of Applied Informatics. Thessaloniki, Greece. Retrieved from: http://hdl.handle.net/10442/hedi/14456 (in Greek).

Watts, C. & Pickering, P. (2000). Pay as you learn: student employment and academic progress. Education + Training, 42 (3), 29-135. Retrieved on December 12, 2017, from: https://doi.org/10.1108/00400910010372670.

Xanthopoulou, P. (2016). Teaching entrepreneurship through e-learning in schools of social and political sciences: empirical study and design of a platform on distance education at Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences. PhD thesis, Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences. Athens, Greece. Retrieved from: http://hdl.handle.net/10442/hedi/40310 (in Greek).

Zgouva, A. (2013). E-learning in in-house training of the Greek Banking Sector: Effectiveness Factors. PhD thesis, University of Thessaloniki, Department of Philosophy & Pedagogy. Thessaloniki, Greece. Retrieved from: http://hdl.handle.net/10442/hedi/35762 (in Greek).

Zucca, G. (2010). Less Is More: A Critique of Synchronous and Asynchronous Online Teaching Methods for Adult Learners. ICERI2010 Proceedings (pp. 6340-6346).


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright © 2015-2018. European Journal of Open Education and E-learning Studies (ISSN 2501-9120) is a registered trademark of Open Access Publishing GroupAll rights reserved.

This journal is a serial publication uniquely identified by an International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) serial number certificate issued by Romanian National Library (Biblioteca Nationala a Romaniei). All the research works are uniquely identified by a CrossRef DOI digital object identifier supplied by indexing and repository platforms.

All the research works published on this journal are meeting the Open Access Publishing requirements and can be freely accessed, shared, modified, distributed and used in educational, commercial and non-commercial purposes under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).