Dropout in adult education as a phenomenon of fit

An integrative model proposal for the genesis of dropout in adult education based on dropout experiences


  • Veronika Thalhammer Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München
  • Stefanie Hoffmann Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
  • Aiga von Hippel Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
  • Bernhard Schmidt-Hertha Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München




adult education, adult education decisions, dropout, dropout model, fit


In adult training practice, dropout marks the transition from participation to non-participation. There are only a few theoretical models, especially from the second half of the 20th century, that address this phenomenon. With special consideration to the congruence model of Boshier (1973) and the integration model of Tinto (1975, 1993) the study focuses first on the theoretical discussion of empirically grounded models for the explanation of dropout in the field of adult education. Against the background of analyses of 40 problem-centered interviews with dropouts from adult education, the two models are examined as to their explanatory contributions. Based on these empirical and theoretical explorations, a newly developed typology of as well as a model for dropout are proposed which topicalize dropout in adult education as a phenomenon of fit.


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Author Biographies

Stefanie Hoffmann, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Kultur-, Sozial- und Bildungswissenschaftliche Fakultät

Institut für Erziehungswissenschaften

Abteilung Erwachsenenbildung/Weiterbildung

Aiga von Hippel, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Kultur-, Sozial- und Bildungswissenschaftliche Fakultät

Institut für Erziehungswissenschaften

Abteilung Erwachsenenbildung/Weiterbildung

Bernhard Schmidt-Hertha, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München

Fakultät für Psychologie und Pädagogik

Department Pädagogik und Rehabilitation

Abteilung: Institut für Pädagogik, Bildungs- und Sozialisationsforschung

Lehrstuhl für Allgemeine Pädagogik und Bildungsforschung


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How to Cite

Thalhammer, V., Hoffmann, S., von Hippel, A., & Schmidt-Hertha, B. (2022). Dropout in adult education as a phenomenon of fit: An integrative model proposal for the genesis of dropout in adult education based on dropout experiences. European Journal for Research on the Education and Learning of Adults, 13(3), 231–246. https://doi.org/10.3384/rela.2000-7426.3351



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