Lifelong learning and adult education

for starters Adult education defined – discussion and guide. Learning in the community. Explore the idea of learning and education in the [...]

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Action research

Action research. In this article we explore the development of some different traditions of action research and provide an introductory guide to the literature. Contents: introduction · origins · the decline and rediscovery of action research · conclusion · further reading · Read Full Article →

What is adult education?

What is adult education? Is adult education a practice or a program? A methodology or an organization? A ‘science’ or a system? A process or a profession? Is adult education a practice or a program? A methodology or an organization? A ‘science’ or a system? A process [...]

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Adult education and lifelong learning – southern critiques and alternatives

Adult education and lifelong learning – southern critiques and alternatives. What can northern educators learn from the experience of the south? A review and introductory reading list. Contents: context · resisting colonialism· respecting local forms · looking to the whole rather [...]

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Adult schools and the making of adult education

Adult schools and the making of adult education. The adult school movement starting in the late 1790s, while for most of the time only small in numbers, was a significant element in the making of adult education in Britain. This article briefly surveys the history and impact [...]

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Andragogy: what is it and does it help thinking about adult learning?

Andragogy: what is it and does it help thinking about adult learning? The notion of andragogy has been around for nearly two centuries. It became particularly popular in North America and Britain as a way of describing adult learning through the work of Malcolm Knowles. But what [...]

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Curiosity: The Heart of Lifelong Learning

How to nurture a child's hungry mind

Post published by Marilyn Price-Mitchell Ph.D. on Apr 13, 2015 in The Moment of Youth

What makes children want to learn? According to research, it's the joy of exploration—a hidden force that drives learning, critical thinking, and reasoning. We call this ability curiosity, and we recognize it in children when we see them exploring theirenvironment, devouring books and information, asking questions, investigating concepts, manipulating data, searching for meaning, connecting with people and nature, and seeking new learning experiences.

(This is first in a series of eight articles written especially for educators. Because the topic goes far beyond the classroom, parents, mentors, and community leaders will find insightful information here as well as links to additional resources.)

The Heart of Lifelong Learning

Most teachers understand that curiosity supercharges learning. But they also know that many students can achieve high grades without being curious—by understanding the system of test-taking and dutifully doing their homework. Curious children often spend a great deal of time reading and acquiring knowledge because they sense a gap between what they know and what they want to know—not because they are motivated by grades. In fact, when kids are in curiosity's grip, they often forget the immediate goals at hand because they are preoccupied with learning.

If you suspect that curious kids fare better in careers and life, you're right—for a variety of reasons. Research suggests that intellectual curiosity has as big of an effect on performance as hard work.(link is external) When put together, curiosity and hard work account for success just as much as intelligence. Another study found that people who were curious about a topic retained what they learned for longer periods of time(link is external). And even more impressive, research has linked curiosity to a wide range of important adaptive behaviors,(link is external) including tolerance of anxiety and uncertainty, positive emotions, humor, playfulness, out-of-box thinking, and a noncritical attitude—all attributes associated with healthy social outcomes.

Curiosity is part of The Compass Advantage(link is external)™—a model to engage families, schools, and communities in the principles of positive youth development—because it is at the heart of lifelong learning. Curiosity not only gives children an advantage in school, but today's business leaders agree that it is also at the heart of thriving organizations.

Psychologists view curiosity as a life force, vital to happiness, intellectual growth, and well-being. It is interconnected with each of the other abilities on the Compass: sociability,resilience, self-awareness, integrity, resourcefulness, creativity, and empathy. The greatest advantage of curiosity lies in its power to motivate learning in areas of life and work that are meaningful to the learner. It points students toward the knowledge, skills, relationships, and experiences that they need to live full and productive lives.

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Lifelong elearning: Time to start studying again

Wayne Janse van Rensburg talks about the benefits of lifelong elearning and how learning needn’t stop when you leave school or university.

The learning journey

Today, education is for everyone from all walks of life. To learn and gain more qualifications you can be old, young, employed or unemployed, a stay at home parent or a career climber...there are no limits to the education to which we all have the right.

In the past the standard education route was usually: study at school, move on to college, then perhaps university and then get a job. In addition you may have studied a few courses to further your career during your working life, or taken a couple of night classes on a subject you’re interested in.

These days learning is much more flexible and there are so many opportunities, due to the advent of elearning. You no longer have to find the time to sit in a classroom with a group of other students as elearning means studying in the comfort of your own home or office at a time to suit you.

It’s never too late to start learning

What do you want to be when you grow up? Do you remember being asked this as a child? Did you know then? Now you are grown up ask yourself this: are you doing what you want to do as a career? Are you what you want to ‘be’? If the answer’s no, it's not too late to start learning. Elearning is for everyone, and may be one of the most satisfying things you decide to do with your life.

Even if you are happy with your job you may want to expand your mind and knowledge and learn something new. Elearning is flexible and is available to everyone. There are so many courses available at all levels: beauty, writing, teaching, counselling, photography, graphic design, business - the list is endless.

Online and distance learning – what’s the difference?

There isn't really a major difference as both mean you study to your own programme at home or in the office. There’s no need to spend time travelling to classes to study. All you need is a computer.

Distance learning

is a more independent method of learning. You receive course materials either by post, email or via the internet and follow the study plan in your own time. You return assignments to your tutor which are marked, graded and returned to you. You may be required to attend some seminars in person, as part of the course.

Online learning

has more interaction with your tutor, who will be available by email, telephone or online messaging (usually Skype) to answer your queries and guide you through your learning experience. You may also attend online seminars in a virtual classroom with other students.

Both elearning methods are great for people who don't enjoy sitting in a classroom with others. Elearning gives you the individual attention and support of a personal tutor, so you gain more from your studies. Some distance learning and online courses include a period of work experience (e.g. teaching assistant and childcare courses), where you are observed in the workplace as part of your studies

Why lifelong elearning?

Lifelong elearning is fast becoming the way to study, for people with busy lives and those wishing to study in their leisure time. It’s a flexible learning method that opens up education to everyone.

Some of the positive benefits are:

  • A healthy mind – learning is a way to exercise your mind, no matter what your age or ability. A hunger and desire to learn expands your knowledge and keeps your mind sharp.

  • Career adaptability – these days not many of us work for the same company or have the same job for life. Gaining more qualifications makes you more employable and shows commitment to your work.

  • Confidence – broadening your knowledge can help shy people develop their conversational skills and increase their ability to mix with others. Talking confidently about a subject you are passionate about and have studied can empower you.

  • Flexibility – lifelong elearning is adaptable. Your studies can be tailor-made to suit you. You can work around school hours, holidays and your free time. Some of us are night owls, others absorb information better in the mornings – elearning means you can study at the best time for you.

  • No age barrier – you can study elearning courses throughout your life. There is no age requirement for most courses and you can either do them for career improvement or leisure purposes. People study at many different times of their lives: on maternity leave, whilst working, when the children are at school or when they retire.

  • Meeting people with similar interests – some elearning courses include occasional seminars when students all meet to discuss the course with their tutors. Many online courses have chat facilities where students can interact and chat with others about their studies. This community spirit can increase motivation if you are finding it hard to study alone.

  • Cost savings – you won't have travel costs or lose time spent at work if you study an elearning course. Some employers may pay for your course and allow you time off to study.

We all have the inbuilt ability to learn, and lifelong elearning gives us the chance to explore that ability.

Wayne Janse van Rensburg is CEO of Stonebridge. Do something you’ve always wanted to do and start your elearning journey today

Ten Essential Skills for the Successful 21st Century Worker/Learner

April 18, 2015
Here is an interesting infographic from university of Phoenix featuring 10 essential skills for the successful worker.Going through the list we remarked that these skills are important not only for a successful work for successful learners as well. In fact, these skills represent the ethos of the 21st century epoch, an era where knowledge economy and the social capital are so interdependently connected that it becomes extremely hard to decipher the dividing line between the two.

The top 10 skills for the 21st century worker, according this visual, include:

  • Critical thinking
  • Leadership
  • Communication
  • Collaboration
  • Adaptability
  • Innovation
  • Global citizenship
  • Productivity and accountability
  • Enterpreneurialism
  • Accessing and synthesizing information

4 Methods of Corporate Training Infographic

The 4 Methods of Corporate Training Infographic presents the different ways in which corporate training is provided to enhance the performance of the personnel:

  1. Classroom training or instructor-led-training
    This type of training is instructor centered training. It is dynamic and soft skills are always paramount.
  2. On-the-job training
    This is an effective type of training, because here the learner experiences real life simulations.
  3. Blended learning
    This training is a combination of synchronous learning, asynchronous learning and instructor-led-training. This type of training is faster and provides an instant feedback.
  4. Asynchronous Learning
    Asynchronous Learning or self-paced learning process and allows the organizations to train in a large number of individuals. It includes numerous types of media that deliver text, audio, images, animation including technology applications.


STEM Education

Tuition Free Educational Opportunities for Maryland STEM Teachers

The increased emphasis on quality Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education can only be met with available and affordable professional development for STEM teachers. To help Maryland become a leader in STEM education, EP offers Maryland high school STEM teachers the opportunity to enroll in one course per semester—with a tuition waiver—in any of EP's 18 graduate programs.

Program Details

  • High school teachers admitted under the STEM program are subject to the same academic admission requirements as all EP applicants. Program requirements can be found on ourGraduate Degree Programs page.
  • As part of the enrollment process, STEM teachers must have their school principal complete the STEM enrollment Form verifying employment in the state of Maryland. This form must be completed as part of the registration process for each EP class you will attend as a STEM Student.
  • Admitted high school STEM teachers are eligible for a tuition waiver for one EP course per semester.
  • A maximum of two high school STEM teachers may be enrolled in any one EP class per semester. Students are enrolled on a first-come, first-served basis

See also:

The Project

The Open Educational Resources to Increase Teaching and Learning of STEM Subjects in Adult Education Project, or simply the OER STEM Project, aims to strengthen science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) instructional content and practice in adult education specifically through the use of widely available and free open educational resources (OERs).

To meet this goal, the OER STEM Project has engaged adult educators to serve as User Group Members who locate, use, evaluate, and share science and math OERs that are appropriate for adult education classes. The project is also developing online professional development courses for teachers on how to use OERs for math and science instruction in their adult education classrooms.

Read the OER STEM Project Fact Sheet to learn about the project goals and activities.

Open Educational Resources

OERs help meet the demand for high quality STEM content in adult education, while enhancing instructional practice and student learning.

OERs help students achieve their learning goals by providing flexible and accessible supplements to instruction. OERs encourage life-long learning habits in students and they also help educators do their job better by augmenting instruction and helping teachers learn about new topics.

OERs are abundant, customizable, free, and convenient to integrate into lessons. They include any educational materials that are openly licensed, including lesson plans, games, textbooks, tests, audio, and video.

OER Fact Sheet

The project has developed an OER Fact Sheet to provide information about OER in an easily shareable format. Download this document to read and share with your colleagues.

Ways to Use OERs for STEM Instruction

Quality OERs can be powerful tools to enhance learning and instruction. The topics that make up STEM areas are especially well-suited for the use of OERs in instruction because they require specialized content and explanations. Well designed and explained OERs can fill the gap between what instructors can do with existing materials in the adult education classroom and the deeper content they want students to learn. Explore some of the OERs that our User Group members have used and evaluated.

What Adult Educators are Saying about STEM OERs


"It was a great experience; especially because I could use them with a class I teach where we do not have much access to technology. Using my laptop and cell phone as a hot spot with a projector, students were able to view the videos and explore the interactive activities."

"Now that I have the feeling for it, I am evaluating more. I really like the process, and I have been introduced to many great OERs because of it. Thanks!"

Featured User Group Member:

Leslie Humphrey
ABE Instructor, Garnet Career & Technology Center
Charleston, WV