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What is the future of adult learning?

I am currently researching the area of adult learning or continuing education as it is commonly termed. As this sector is fast reaching its maturity stage, I am having serious concerns about the sustainability of this segment of the education industry. I am wondering if the adult education courses will remain attractive over the future years or would they become vulnerable to the threat of non-innovation and face slow decline. Do the online continuing education programs mark the future of adult learning or even the average adult education school can survive successfully?

Samantha Stevenson

in Higher Education

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Blair Lewis on February 12, 2018

Firstly, please be assured that the adult education and learning sector is not all likely to face any issue in the near future or even in the long-term future. As an industry practitioner, I am very much aware of the trends and practices in this segment of the education industry, and I can say without any doubt that the adult education industry sector is one of the most rapidly growing education sectors in the western countries. Of course the popularity of the continuing education programs is also fast spreading into the developing nations. But let’s come back to that later. What I would like to say is, the adult learning sector has been experiencing highest growth since the last decade with a number of groundbreaking innovations done by academicians, researchers and industry practitioners. As per the Global Reports on Adult Learning and Education (GRALE), the governments of all developed as well as developing nations are working towards the facilitation of adult learning opportunities in their societies. This is aimed at achieving social enrichment as well as at improving the human factor productivity, literacy rates and other economic indicators which determine the economic affluence of a nation. Thus, the governments, as well as the private institutions, are encouraging innovations in both practices and systems so that the Adult Learning and Education (ALE) can be improved across all the five segments of action including governance, policy, participation, financing, quality and equity and inclusion. Further, with the increasing popularity of the online adult learning education courses, the continued success of the adult learning schools are more strengthened. There are so many types and forms of online and offline learning for adults offered by various continuity learning centers and institutions that any adult learner will definitely have an available option for his/her requirements.

To summarize, I am certain that adult education, especially continuing education online, has a bright future. The education industry in the western countries especially marked by an era of various education-related startups aimed at the young generation of learners. However, the industry has already identified that a vast market opportunity prevails for adult education provision and that this market sector has an amazingly large base of target consumers. Therefore, the market will soon evolve to capture such high potential market sector and more and more players in the global education sector will focus on the strategizing of adult learning and education.

Kurt Price2 years ago

The buzzword in the domain of adult learning is personal enrichment. More than the values created by getting enrolled in continuity learning classes, most adult learners are getting interested in joining such courses because of the personal enrichment that they are able to avail. Participating in the adult education programs is now seen as an effective way of removing boredom, loneliness and social isolation among the adult generation. With an increasing ease of using technology for all purposes, the adult learners of the modern age can be expected to access various online continuing education programs. This is already widely noted in the American society. Adding with this, the rapid innovations and investments in this domain and the constant backup provided by the national governments will make sure that this industry grows impressively. At least I don’t foresee any decline in the adult learning sector in the next 40-50 years, that’s for sure!


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