Designing Inclusive Pathways with Young Adults

Learning and Development for a Better World

By Judith Kearney, Lesley Wood and Richard Teare

The aim here is to introduce the second book about GULL’s work. The book is available from: Sense Publishers, Specialists in Educational Research Sensepublishers. You might also like to Read the book reviewers’ comments.

This book is the second in a series entitled ‘Learning and Development for a Better World’ to explore the potential for self-directed lifelong action learning (LAL). LAL enables all people and especially the world’s most disadvantaged, to discover their unique gifts; develop these talents together with like-minded people, become self-confident, self-directed and self-sufficient; and then cascade what they have learned to help others. These issues are addressed in Lifelong Action Learning for Community Development (Zuber-Skerritt and Teare, Sense Publishers 2013) and the aim here is to build on the conceptual framework for LAL by focusing on the design and implementation of pathways with and for young adults. As with the first, this free-standing book draws on approaches used by the Global University for Lifelong Learning (GULL) with examples from nine countries. Our aim is to offer a timely response to the pressing global problem of access to learning and development for marginalized young people during the vulnerable period from their mid-teens to mid-twenties.

Part I (Excluded Young Adults: What are the Problems and Responses?) reviews the scale of the challenge and the reasons why innovative and creative LAL pathways are needed. We use the term LAL ‘pathway’ throughout the book to reflect the fact that remedial education and training courses are often ineffective, especially given the number of young adults with little or no access to conventional forms of secondary education. Nor does ‘more of the same’ seem to help school drop-outs or the millions of youngsters in developing nations who are obliged to find ways of surviving without the safeguards typically found in western countries. Our review points to the need for a greatly enhanced provision of non-traditional options that blend character (personal) and skills (technical) development with coaching and mentoring support. LAL is also a core component as it enables young adults to learn for themselves how to achieve greater self-reliance in challenging circumstances.

To develop our LAL pathway concept for marginalized young adults, we sought to explore some of the ways in which individuals and organizations engage with and facilitate the kinds of personal change and technical development needed to build self-confidence and reliance. By interviewing pathway designers, we uncovered an array of innovative action learning approaches that among others, draw on micro enterprise and reality game playing, peace-building, sport, music and the creative arts as a vehicle for learning and development. Part II (Designing Pathways with Young Adults: What are the Possibilities?) contains our findings and to present them in a consistent way, these application chapters are written in a concise, accessible format beginning with an overview of the reasons for the pathway and its objectives, the main pathway design features, an interview (with the pathway designer) and a chapter summary (including a summary diagram), review questions, acknowledgements, notes and references (with contact details as appropriate). To develop a broad-based perspective, the applications are drawn from Australia, Guatemala, Lebanon, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, South Africa, The Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda and the United Kingdom.

Additionally, every application chapter is supplemented by ‘Pathway notes’ with further background details. Hosted at the GULL website (see below), these notes also use a standard format covering the purpose, pathway implementation and the approach used to verify outcomes. GULL welcomes affiliation with any organization working with marginalized young people and the purpose of these pathway notes is to assist those who are using or developing a similar approach.*

Pathway Notes

Chapter 3: Papua New Guinea Chapter 7: Lebanon
Chapter 4: Malaysia Chapter 8: Democratic Republic of Congo
Chapter 5: United Kingdom Chapter 9: Guatemala
Chapter 6: Uganda Chapter 10: South Africa

To conclude, Part III (Widening Access: How can all Young Adults be Included?) provides a summary chapter that reviews the main findings and drawing on this, a generic design approach is proposed. The aim here is widen access to and acceptance of non-traditional LAL pathways for young adults to incentivize participants to sustain their action learning journey and to fulfil their potential. The concluding chapter also explores ways of verifying practical outcomes and linking them with low cost professional recognition and certification provided by GULL.

In summary, the book:

  • Identifies the problems faced by marginalized young adults and discusses ways of enabling them to make the changes needed to live a more fulfilling and sustainable life;
  • Explores ways in which LAL methodology can be used to design and implement non-traditional learning and development pathways that enable young people to achieve their potential;
  • Reviews the approaches used by pathway designers working with marginalized youth and offers a generic design approach that facilitates universal access to low cost professional recognition and certification, based on the verification of practical outcomes.


For details about how affiliate with GULL please see:


Zuber-Skerritt, O., & Teare, R. (2013) Lifelong action learning for community development: Learning and development for a better world, Rotterdam: Sense Publishers

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