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Learner generated materials in adult literacy programs as a vehicle for development: Theory and practice in case studies in Nepal

Clifford Trevor Meyers, University of Massachusetts Amherst


Adult literacy and non-formal basic education programs have been implemented on a continuous basis in Nepal for the past 20 years. Both the Ministry of Education and local non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have been implementing literacy courses as "entry points" for community development programs. This exploratory study examines three NGOs which, as part of their adult literacy programs, have organized adult new literates to develop and publish print materials. This process and the resultant texts have been termed Learner Generated Materials (LGM). Through a critical review of the literature, theoretical rationales and approaches for the use of LGM methods are identified, and patterns of practice, especially in Asia, are analyzed. Three intensive case studies of LGM activities in Nepal, utilizing field research, interviews and observation, describe the process of implementing LGM methods and the use of the materials developed in the Nepal context. General finding are related to the use of LGM for learning, the popularity and utility of the product for new literates, and the use of both the process and product for participatory action. Findings indicate that the authors found publishing to be an empowering experience. Readers interviewed strongly preferred reading LGM texts to professionally developed materials in regard to comprehension, enjoyment and inspiration. This was supported by author and reader beliefs that LGM validated them as knowers. LGM texts developed around specific development themes also had a catalytic effect in motivating readers to action in the area of community development. In this regard, LGM texts appear to change the relation and climate between new literates and the development process, moving them from passive recipients to active doers. Issues which emerge from the study include the use of new literates as editors, publishing texts in non-standard Nepali, the role and applications of LGM activities as tools for learning, and the effectiveness of LGM methods for promoting interactive and critical forms of knowledge. Areas for further research are also identified.

Subject Area

Adult education|Continuing education|Social structure|Literacy|Reading instruction

Recommended Citation

Meyers, Clifford Trevor, "Learner generated materials in adult literacy programs as a vehicle for development: Theory and practice in case studies in Nepal" (1996). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI9639002.