Questions and Answers on Adult Education

Edited by Daniel Schugurensky

This site includes questions and answers on adult education that were written by students in the course 'Outline of Adult Education' at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto (OISE/UT).

The questions are raised on the first day of class by the students themselves. By the second class, as one of the short assignments for the course, students organize in small teams, and each team selects one question from the list created by the group during the previous class. For the following weeks, each team will seek the answer to that question.

This site fulfills four basic functions. First, it allows each new group of students to pose their own questions about the field, and to seek answers to those questions. Second, it provides a space for each team to share their answers with the rest of the classmates in the course, so all class members have access to this collective exercise. Third, this site allows each new group of students in the course to see the questions raised by previous students of the course, and learn something from the answers provided to those questions. Fourth, it allows each new group of students to help in building this collective resource for future use.

In this sense, each cohort of this course can benefit from the efforts made by previous students, and in turn can make a contribution to the next generations of students and to all those who are interested in these topics anywhere in the world. This site, in sum, is intended to provide a venue through which students can share basic information about the field of adult education with other students in the course, and with others who have a general interest in these topics. New entries are added regularly every year.

Sometimes, a question selected by a team has already been addressed by previous students in a different assignment. This was the case, for instance, in question #11 (What was the Antigonish Movement about?), and question #18 (What is andragogy?), which were already posted on the website on Selected Moments of 20th Century Education. In those cases, we establish a link to those existing pages, and the students pose a new question.

It is pertinent to clarify that in most cases the answer prepared by the students constitutes a first attempt to address their own question, and thus it does not exhaust all the complexities and issues inherent in each topic. Indeed, there is no doubt that each of these short responses could be further refined and developed in a longer essay. In their current state, they present basic information to satisfy an initial curiosity on a given issue. 

If you have any comments, corrections or suggestions to improve the content of a particular answer, or to any aspect of this site, please do not hesitate to send a message to dschugur@asu.edu.




1. What is adult education? What is an adult? What is education?

2. What are the differences between adult education and adult learning?

3. What is Popular Education?

4. What are some of the main philosophies in the field of Adult Education?

5. What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of on-line learning?

6. What is community development and how do you know it is happening?

7. What are the main features and challenges of anti-racist education?

8. What is Kolb's model of experiential education, and where does it come from?

9. Do adults and children learn differently?

10. What is critical thinking, and how can it be promoted by adult educators?

11. What was the Antigonish movement about?

12. How are changes in health behaviour faciliated through adult education interventions?

13. What are the theories of organizational change advanced by Schein, Senge and Lewin?

14. What are the main techniques used in Adult Education?

15. What were the main changes in adult education funding during the nineties in Ontario, and how did they affect learners?

16. What is a personal mission statement, and how does it impact adult learning?

17. How can feminist pedagogy promote the empowerment of women?

18, What is andragogy?

19. Who are the main theorists of adult education, and what are their theories about?

20. What is a learning style, and how can it be identified?

21. What are the job opportunities for adult educators in the labour market?

Other questions raised:

What is lifelong education? Is it the beginning of a future trend, or just a fad?

What is a learning organization? Is it a fad? If not, what are the best ways to develop it?

What are the teaching techniques to address different learning styles?

What are the implications of previous educational experiences (positive and negative) of the learners for adult education?

How does lifelong learning takes place in large organizations and other contexts? How can it be fostered?

What should the role of the adult educator be?

What are the differences between self-initiated learning and institutionally-initiated learning? What are the implications of each one?

What are the different methods available for the evaluation of student learning?

How can behavioral change be facilitated? How can changes in health behavior be facilitated?

What is the history and the possible future of adult education?

What is the history of adult education at OISE?

How can learners in non-educational institutions and in stressful environments such as prisons be motivated?

How can active learning in large groups be promoted?

What are the connections between adult education and teacher education?

What are the differences and similarities of formal and non-formal structures? What are the pros and cons of each one?

How do you deal with heterogeneous groups?

What constitutes a social movement, and what is the role of an adult educator in it?

What is empowerment? What does it really mean? What is the role of the adult educator?

What is the linkage between learning and empowerment?

How can one become an effective adult educator?

How to market effectively adult education programs? What are the best strategies to recruit students? How to attract students? Why should we attract them?

What are the connections between literacy and community development?

What are the connections between adult education and human rights?

What are the connections between adult education and women's rights?

What are the connections between adult education and theories of individual change?

What are the connections between expectations and learning?

What are the main areas of adult education in developed countries?

What are the main research methods in adult education?

What are the similarities and differences between peace education, human rights education, gender equity education, social justice education, anti-racist education, global education, labour education, popular education, environmental education and critical pedagogy?

What are the connections between global and local dynamics?

What are the connections between structural factors and individual actions?

How can a diagnosis of learners be conducted before a course begins?

What are the main characteristics of adult learners?


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Last updated on July 28, 2011