The NRDC Adult Learners’ Lives project started in September 2002. It is a detailed longitudinal study of learners’ lives. The aim is to understand the connections that adults make between learning and their everyday lives. The research is addressing questions about the significance of language, literacy and numeracy in the lives of adults who have difficulties, including their experience of learning programmes; it is exploring the relation between how people deal with difficulties and their classroom experiences, investigating the ways in which factors related to provision interface with factors related to the learners. In the classroom we are looking at links between teaching and learning, participation, motivation and persistence.