An empirical study was conducted to discern the relationship between adult learners’ online participation, their learning performance, and perceptions of social capital enhancement. Participants (n=171) were adult learners following a blended learning program in Specific Teacher Training at different adult education centers in Flanders (Belgium). A questionnaire was developed to measure adult learners’ socio-demographics, their grade point average (GPA) as measure of learning performance, online participation and social capital enhancement. Multiple regressions were employed to answer the research questions. The findings revealed that adult learners’ online participation was not significantly related to their learning performance. In addition, learners who were older perceived greater enhancement of both bonding and bridging social capital, i.e. age is a significant predictor. As for different types of online participation, not all of them enhanced learners’ perceived social capital. Accordingly, learners who contributed more to discussion reported greater bonding capital (β=.20, p<.05) whereas learners who were active facilitators of collaborative works perceived greater bridging capital (β=.31, p<.001). The variances explained in bonding and bridging capital are R2=.17 and R2=.19, respectively. The findings confirm that online interaction should be enhanced to enable greater social capital building among the adult learners whilst findings on the role of online participation with regard to learning have been mixed. In addition, the instructors should pay attention to ensure that learners can assume different roles during online interactions with peers so that both types of social capital can be sustained.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCentre for Research in Education Inclusion & Diversity (CREID)
EditorsGrace Kong, Ellen Boeren
Place of PublicationUniversity of Edinburgh
StatePublished - Jul 2017
EventSCUTREA Conference 2017: Adult Education for Inclusion and Diversity (4-6 July 2017) - University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Duration: 4 Jul 20177 Jul 2017


ConferenceSCUTREA Conference 2017: Adult Education for Inclusion and Diversity (4-6 July 2017)
CountryUnited Kingdom

    Research areas

  • adult education, online participation, learning performance, social capital

ID: 32500237