Dimensions of Adult Learning: Adult Education and Training in a Global Era

Dimensions of Adult Learning: Adult Education and Training in a Global Era

Dimensions of Adult Learning: Adult Education and Training in a Global Era

Dimensions of Adult Learning: Adult Education and Training in a Global Era

Excerpt

Early in 2002, Elizabeth Weiss of Allen & Unwin asked me to edit a third edition of Understanding Adult Education and Training (Sydney: Allen & Unwin, 1995, 2000). I started to do this, but soon realised that we had a new and different book. Dimensions of Adult Learning is the result. It reflects the radical changes that have occurred in adult education over the past decade. Three changes have been particularly important. First, 'adult education' has been largely displaced by specialist fields— vocational education, human resource development, community-based education and so on—the list is long and growing. Second, adult education theory and scholarship has become more sophisticated and international. Third, there is a growing recognition of the central role of learning in our lives.This third development is by far the most significant. Human life has a learning dimension that is just as important as its economic or political dimensions. Learning, and failure to learn, are central to all aspects of human life. Formal education is a minor part of the learning dimension. Informal and incidental learning and non-formal education are far more significant. This recognition is only just being reflected in research and scholarship. We are, one hopes, at the beginning of a learning revolution in which governments and citizens will come to understand the central role of learning in our lives and the dire consequences of failure to learn.

I develop these points in the first chapter. The rest of the book explores various aspects of the learning dimension. Part I establishes an analytical framework that emphasises the diverse and social nature of learning and the agency of learners. Part II deals in depth with the core knowledge and skills required by adult educators. Part III discusses adult education policy and research, and the history and political economy of . . .

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