Adult education is a form of continuing education that serves as a way of expanding horizons, developing understanding, creating meaningful activities and bridging the gap between generations. It has a critical role in a rapidly changing world by providing information and knowledge that people need in dealing with changing conditions. It is of great help in perceiving and solving crucial issues of the times. It can be a tool also for sustaining social relationship among aged adults.
Adult education is the practice of teaching and educating adults. Adult education takes place in the workplace, through 'extension' or 'continuing education' courses at secondary schools, or at colleges or universities. Other learning places include folk high schools, community colleges, and lifelong learning centers. The practice is also often referred to as 'Training and Development 'and is often associated with workforce or professional development.
It has also been referred to as andragogy (to distinguish it from pedagogy). Adult education is different from vocational education, which is mostly workplace-based for skill improvement; and also from non-formal adult education, including learning skills or learning for personal development. Programs provide one to one tutoring and small group sessions for adults at the 6th grade level or below. Public libraries, nonprofit organizations and school systems administer these programs across the country.
Many adult education centers from community colleges receive grants from Welfare and Unemployment departments to offer training to welfare and unemployment recipients to help these individuals gain life and work skills to facilitate their return to the mainstream. They also provide programs for ex-offenders to reintegrate to society. There are underlying factors and forces which paved way for the development and improvement of Adult education.
Changes in technological processes, in communication, in knowledge in social organization and in patterns of living implies that a modern man must constantly learn new ideas, new facts, new skills and new attitudes to keep up with the progress of the society. Through this kind of formal literacy education, adults develop the sincerity and aim to learn those things they need to know in order to cope effectively with the real life situation. Adult education is simply a continuation and way of improving prior knowledge of matured individuals.
It believes and wanted to prove that adults are pragmatic learners. Adults frequently apply their knowledge in a practical fashion to learn effectively. They must have a reasonable expectation that the knowledge recently gained will help them further their goals. One example, common in the 1990s, was the proliferation of computer training courses in which adults (not children or adolescents), most of whom were office workers, could enroll.
These courses would teach basic use of the operating system or specific application software. Because the abstractions governing the user's interactions with a PC were so new, many people who had been working white-collar jobs for ten years or more eventually took such training courses, either at their own whim (to gain computer skills and thus earn higher pay) or at the behest of their managers.
Adults by social definition, individual need, and institutional expectation are responsible people that seek to enhance their identity through learning that further develop their competence. They have a strong need to apply what they have acquired and in order for them to be competent in that application, there is a reciprocal needs of interaction between them and the rapidly changing environment to produce a powerful desire for more knowledge.