Enhancing Creativity in Adult and Continuing Education: Innovative Approaches, Methods, and Ideas

By Paul Jay Edelson; Patricia L. Malone | Go to book overview

How can adult education continually adapt to changing social,
institutional, and cultural circumstances? Findings in the area of
creativity research can help us promote creativity among
administrators, faculty, and students as a way of meeting and
defining important emerging future needs
.


Creativity and Adult Education

Paul Jay Edelson

Discussions of creativity in adult and continuing education often tend to become discussions of marketing or program development because these two sectors are overtly creative in the sense of the new products fashioned— whether advertising campaigns and materials or courses and programs. Moreover, marketing as a field has traditionally been a haven for [creative] people who can devise attention-grabbing ads that may even take on lives of their own. In adult education program development, a similar premium has always been placed on [coming up with new ideas] for courses, seminars, and workshops. And the people drawn to programming have had to develop a sixth sense for spotting new adult education trends that are on the upswing and therefore likely to attract students.

The discussion and review of marketing and new program concepts is the backbone of many, if not most, continuing education conferences where professionals in our field gather. This is as it should be considering the marketdriven, consumer-driven nature of adult learning in the United States, which is largely self-financed by voluntary learners who enjoy considerable freedom of choice in program and institutional selection. This pattern is also becoming normative worldwide. Without creative marketing and program development, most continuing education bureaus would simply close up shop, because there is rarely a central institutional mechanism for the recruitment and allocation of part-time students in continuing education divisions that are subunits of larger organizations. In other words, continuing education offices have no one to count on but themselves. In addition, the steady stream of new programs keeps continuing education fresh and responsive to changing learner needs.

In this volume and especially in this chapter, we have the unique opportunity to focus on broader meanings and applications of creativity in adult

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