Adult education, or andragogy, refers to the practice of teaching and educating adults—people who have bypassed the age for formal education. However, with the emerging competitive workplace and the urgent need to meet steep learning demands, adults are often forced to educate themselves if they are to enrich their careers.
There are several ways of educating adults. They can be taught in the workplace or through continuing education. A popular way of educating the busy adult is through online courses, using the Internet. Adult education has been central to people’s lives since the early days of American society.
Why do people need adult education? The reason is simple. A working adult does not have the freedom to simply quit his or her job and return back to school on a full-time basis. They can, at best, spare a few hours a day to educate themselves. Many U.S. community colleges and correspondence schools offer evening or weekend classes for educating adults. Adult education opens new vistas of development for adults. The educational courses help them in their careers or help them to acquire the latest practical knowledge in a particular subject. Whatever the case, adult education is emerging as a popular mode of education.
The field of adult education is very challenging and is very different from educating children. An important difference between adult education and children’s education is the vast accumulated knowledge of adults, which can either add value to their learning experiences or serve to hinder the “new knowledge” from being accepted. This can make the field very challenging for educators.
Adult education is virtually limitless. Adults can choose to undertake wide-ranging courses like those that ultimately award a high school diploma, a master’s degree, or even a doctorate degree. The range of subjects available is also equally varied. The excitement in adult education in recent years has been propelled by the development of Internet technology. Online courses have brought new incentives to adults by offering education anytime and anywhere. The economically less-privileged adult students now can continue their education by seeking financial aid from the government. Alternatively, they can also explore other opportunities like grants and scholarships, seek possible tuition assistance through their employers, or perhaps even begin their education at a community college.