Adult education refers to the practice of tutoring and educating grown up persons. This type of teaching and training is inmost cases done in the work place through extension course at secondary schools, colleges or university. Adult education can also be conducted in such places like community colleges, high schools that provide training on personal development but do not grant degrees and long life teaching centers. According to, (Knoles, Holton, & Swanson, 2005), the practice of educating adult is often referred to as training and development. Adult training programs are developed to present one to one teaching and the grown ups are trained in small group sessions at 6th grade level or lower. The teaching programs are managed by public libraries, school systems and by non-profit organizations.
Among the features of adult education include; the teaching differs much from children education since grown-ups have build up experience and knowledge which can add or hamper the training process. The other difference is that education for adults is intentional thus those who take part are generally inspired. Grown -up people frequently apply their understanding in a sensible fashion in order to learn effectively. Adults undertaking adult education should have a rational expectation that the knowledge they will gain would be of assistance in furthering their goals. For instance, the proliferation of computers training courses for adults in the 1990s, forced most of the office workers to enroll for the courses. The computer courses would teach the users of the fundamental operating system or particular application software. As a result of on concepts overriding the user's interactions with personal computer were very new to many adults who were working in white collar jobs for a number of years eventually enrolled for computer training course either out of their own urge in order to acquire computer skills and get a higher salaries or at the request of their managers.
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In United States of America, the most common example is that of those people who drop out of high school and want to go back to school and finish their schooling (Cervero, & Wilson, 2001). For the working adults, it is not easy to be given choice to leave the job and return back to school full time, instead such adults get enrolled in community colleges and public school systems for weekend and evening classes. In Europe, the system is generally referred to as “second-chance” and many secondary schools provide tailor made courses and teaching programs for adult learners.
The rise of adult education in USA
Adult education is intended for grown-up persons particularly those past the age customary undergraduate, college or university level. Adult education is not necessarily considered to incorporate basic lessons like English language skills literacy or vocational training programs. Adult learning assumes that the learners have already attained education and are in the process of continuing with it.
In the USA, adult learning involves the adults enrolling in colleges or university on a credit granting courses, most by students enrolled out side the working hours and is mostly provided through a schooling of ongoing education of a university or college sometimes known as extension school. In most cases, the adult learners can enroll in non-credit-granting courses regularly taken for personal, non-vocational enhancement even though majority of non-credit courses undertaken can have a vocational purpose. In United States, majority of non vocational non-credit courses are provided by community colleges.
The first continuing education program was first provided in United States by University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1907 and Empire state college was the first institution in United States to solely offer higher education to grown up learners. In 1976, Florida University developed its own section of ongoing education and majority of the courses were provided on weekends or evenings to have room for the schedules of working adults.
Technology has been among the most driving factors in the growth on adult education in United States of America. Among the various novel methods of adult education that have gained reputation is the distance learning where the learners are sent learning course through the internet. The main reasons for the choice of this method include suppleness, being learner friendly and economized mode. The distant learning programmes have played a major role in advocating the use of the latest communication technology in offering distant learning to the different adult clientele in USA.
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Technology based adult learning has been described as the offering of adult learning courses using latest technology such as internet or web based technologies. In distant education the communication technology is utilized to communicate with the learner rather than relying mainly on the on the tutor doing the lecturing. The latest technology is employed in offering adult education in an objective towards effective communication of information and raising the standards of living for the US citizens.
The US government through community colleges, universities and folk schools has been committee to offer distant adult education. Community colleges in USA are in addition has been adapting the latest telecommunication technology to ensure growth of adult distant learning. Technology based adult learning has been beneficial in providing advantages to the adult learner who can access the training materials at their own pace, geographical location and time.
In order to offer open accessibility of adult education, in the United States particularly to those disadvantaged people who did not mange to get the education system of those who did not finish high school education, open and distant educational institutions have been raising the accessibility of adult education in USA so as to reach a higher population. According to, (Knowles, Holton, & Swanson, 2005), with the advancement of communication technology, adult education is becoming high tech as the instructions adjustments are taking place. The use of television, video, teleconferencing computer technologies and video conferencing have come out as part of the multi media in adult education training in United States.
In the areas of adult education many institutions have taken up differing approaches of availing their teaching materials to their adult learners starting from print media print media being the primary level in the development of current video conferencing and teaching on computer as the latest development. According to, ( ), the modes have undergone various adjustments over the years and presently the adult institutions are competing to become more focused on the learner and helping learners with additional methods of delivery of teaching materials. The current trend in United States is to offer new technologies in adult education as additional to existing systems.
Adult education of Africa Americans
During the era of slave trade people were punished for teaching Africa-American slaves how to read or write or even understand how to read figures. However, as time went by many Africa Americans were taught how to read and writ by their abolitionist Americans. Many African American learned about reading and writing through their masters or by eavesdropping on teachers working with their master children. During the period of Civil war, the Union Army offered many opportunities for former African-American soldiers through engagement in educational activities including the work of General Banks. After the Civil war, the United States Congress, a bureau for African American people as a sole agency for offering adult education. The agency was under the jurisdiction of War Department which was popularly known as Freedmen's Bureau. The Bureau provided adult learning to African-Americans by engaging teachers who were principally from intentional organizations such as the American Missionary Association.
The rise of adult learning.
The adult education movements of the United States which include colleges and universities, government agencies, labor unions, voluntary health and welfare agencies were among the first to pioneer for adult education. The United States Military and Carnegie and Ford Foundation together with National Education Association are among the highest contributors of Adult Education and Literacy System (AELS) in the USA. The contribution of the US military toward adult education was primarily in the in the development of technology of mass standardized testing. The Carnegie and Ford Foundation and National Education Association assisted in growth of adult education through setting up the adult education occupation by forming associations for teaching and training professionals in adult education and offering guidance and policies for determining adult education at state and federal levels.
Among the individuals who pioneered the growth of AELS was Cora W. Stewart, who played a fundamental role in focusing attention on the problems that were being faced by the illiterate and semiliterate adults in United States. Stewart assisted in generating programs of lessons for the adult learning and assembling many volunteer teachers for teaching the adult literacy programs. Stewart also promoted the public support for educational opportunities for adult learners.
E-adult learning and sustainability
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Sustainability is used to mean the development that accomplishes the needs of the current society without compromising the potential of future generations to meet their have needs. According to, (Nelms, 2000), the idea of the basic needs of the world's poor people which should be given higher priority and the idea on confines imposed by technology of the state and social organization of capability of the environment to achieve current and future needs. Because the notion of continued development is focused on the utilization new thinking process, to realize new morals and attitudes, training and development of learning should be done continuously and it should be part and parcel of life long education process.
The retraining of employees towards accomplishment of sustainable development together with its requirement in concept should be systemic and evolve over lifetime learning of an adult learner. Learning over a long time in lifetime, first originated from the early 1970s and was mainly well known within the governments' think-tanks like the United Nations Educational and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). However, in 1994, life long learning resurfaced in the European Commission White Paper on aggressiveness and economic growth. Adult education has been a concept that acknowledges the accelerated rate of change in the industrial culture and the improvement in technology, global markets and information communication technology. Life long education symbolizes a shift from private focus on official schooling to a wider focus that also encompasses continuing adult education. E-learning together with face-to-face learning, holds the guarantee of convenience and structure for sustained commitment to learning for a long period in life particularly in the United States.
Adult education and economic development in United States
The change of adult education to sustainable development is model change in business that has traditionally viewed economics as an overriding concept of the society in the United States. Many researchers have questioned the rationale behind sustainable adult learning in a capitalist economy relying on production and consumption. According to (Servage, 2005), majority of the researchers in this are have suggested that a change from conventional view of sustainable development should bring into place into personal ethics and institutional structures to achieve an economic, ecological and social equilibrium.
Education for sustainable development necessitates developing skills in systems, critical thinking, visioning, problem solving and participating in making of decisions (Springett, & Kearins, 2005). In addition, it has been recognized that certain professional groups like engineers, professional managers' accountants are in need for reorientation to incorporate sustainability to their specialized standard bodies of acquaintance particularly to meet the US market.
Pedagogical means for sustainability should be empirical, interdisciplinary and based on actual learning and offer real world learning and utility opportunities (Freire, 2004). According to (Servage,2005), use of instructions like methods of inquiry provide the reflective nature of sustainability concepts where the learners boost their proficiency as trainees and concentrate on learning process instead of a final answer that is predestined.
In United States, Adult education, e-learning and combined learning can be planned to meet many of these requirements and games and imitations have been utilized as experimental learning tools for sustainability. With the high number of adult population in United States going for adult education in areas such as frontline employees and professionals, it has been necessary to employ some teaching methods to institute and offer long term development of character, skills and knowledge and e-learning has played a important role in this evolving field.
According to, (Springett, & Kearins, 2005), sustainability is concerned with people and how they be acquainted with and act. Getting to learn new ways of sustainability relies on the awareness of the learner, weaknesses, lotus of control and socio-economic factors. In addition, the interdependency between learning and social perspective for sustainability is important. E-learning with its capability to employ use of a range of technologies, languages and theories of learning has assisted to bridge the employment and cultural divide in United States. Contrary to face-to -face, e-learning has had the capability of offering a selection of to learners about how, when and what they require to be taught, therefore supporting the principle of androgogy and self-directed learning. Among the technologies that have found their use in the United States in e-learning for adults include; discussion boards, group or individual webcasts, podcasts, blogging simulations and games and e-portfolios. Many organizations in United States have incorporated the use of e-learning, face-to-face and use of operational strategies to develop life long learning in sustainability.
After the 2nd World War, it came to be realized that majority of the American adults were not educated and functionary illiterate. The Army Commander of United States, David Eisenhower, became concerned about the poorly educated and semiliterate American adults and viewed them as a threat to America's industry productivity and a waste of human talent (U.S. Department of Education, 2000). In 1957, the education office of United States, organized the National Commission on Adult Literacy to search for a solution for American adult illiteracy problem as part of the government concerns. The commission focused very much recruitment and illiteracy and its work did not receive the support of the education community, Adult Association of America.
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