James, Mike and Reynolds, Cheryl (2017) Identifying the potential risks of political eparticipation for adult learners. In: Scutrea Conference Proceedings 2017 : Adult Education for Inclusion and Diversity. Centre for Research in Education Inclusion & Diversity, Edinburgh, pp. 218-225.

Adult education encourages digital literacy as an unmitigated good. In the current conjuncture, it does not encourage political literacy to the same degree. There is undoubtedly a nexus between the two, with a need for political literacy in the online environment. This paper argues that many adult learners remain ill-equipped to competently 'read' and respond to the political messages they receive online. Moreover, the problem is escalating rapidly, as the methods that political parties employ to influence people become increasingly subtle and sophisticated. At the same time we see the rise in 'fake news,' in extremism of all kinds and the declining status of the 'expert' in a 'post truth world' (Mele et al., 2017). Given this context, this paper asks the following questions:
 what are the perceptions of a sample of trainee teachers working in UK further and adult education with regard to the place of online political literacy in the curriculum?
 do these perceptions chime with what we know of the status of political literacy in current UK qualifications and curricula?
 in light of the answers to these questions, are adult learners being adequately equipped to protect their data and interpret the political messages they receive through social media?
Whilst the authors recognise the potential of the internet to mobilise political engagement and as an enabler of activism in many contexts, this paper focuses on the attendant risks of e-participation.

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