An adult education degree prepares you for careers working in adult instruction. Other areas include educational administration, and management in vocational, technical, college/university, and continuing education. In addition, you can teach in specialized areas such as English as a Second Language (ESL) or community college courses. Students who pursue an accredited adult education degree or certificate go on to work as mentors and educators. Adult education programs works best if they apply a variety of methods to teach, for example lectures, group/team work, hands-on work projects, and individual assignments. During your program of study in any of the adult education degrees listed here, the purpose is to maintain strong interpersonal and communication skills because this is a major factor when working with adult learners.
Adult Education Training
The qualifications required to become an adult education instructor depend on the type of educational program. For example if you are working in skills training, you would need to be qualified in that area. Also, if you are working with students who are preparing to take their GED, a bachelors or masters degree would usually be required.
The concept of adult learning principles was pioneered by Malcolm Knowles, a very influential figure in adult learning. He focused on the concept of andragogy – adult learning theory and the process of engaging adult learners – self-direction in learning, and informal adult education. His work led to the formation of adult education degrees and adult education online coursework in other areas that place emphasis related coursework:
- Autonomous and self-directed: The instructors must actively involve learners in the learning process and serve as facilitators. The instructors should get participants’ perspectives about what topics are relevant to them, and allow the students to take responsibility for activities.
- They have accumulated life experiences and knowledge that may include work-related activities, family responsibilities, and prior educational experiences and need to connect learning to this knowledge/experience base. To help them do so, they should draw out participants’ experience and knowledge which is relevant to the topic. They must relate andragogy theories and concepts to the participants.
- Adult learners are goal-oriented and when they sign up for a course, they often know what they want to achieve in the end. Therefore, course goals and objectives must be ascertained early in the course.
- Learners are relevancy-oriented, in that they must see a reason for learning something for instance applicability at their current job.
- Learners are practical, therefore the instructor must make it explicit how what is being covered is useful to the learners.
- Learners need to be treated with respect and they want to be treated as equals in experience and knowledge.
Adult Education Courses
Adult education classes may include the following foundations, method, theory, and curriculum of adult learning courses: Adult Learning Theory (Andragogy), Distance Education Foundations, Workforce Development, Continuing Education Models, Higher Education Administration, and Motivational Theories among others. Motivation is important in adult learning. These factors are important to motivation in online adult education degree programs:
- Social relationships: Able to make new friends, to meet a need for associations and friendships
- External expectations: Able to comply with instructions from someone else
- Social welfare: Ability to participate in community activities
- Personal advancement: Able to Achieve higher status at work and secure professional advancement
- Escape/Stimulation: Able to relieve boredom and get a break from the routine of work or home life
- Cognitive interest: Ability to learn for the sake of learning, seek knowledge for its own sake, and to satisfy inquiring minds.
Adult Education Careers
In addition to specialized subjects, adult educators might choose to focus on distance learning, workplace learning, corporate training or research programs. Adult educators often work in community colleges, universities, nonprofit organizations, corporate training, job training centers, and other facilities employ adult education instructors such as e-learning programs.
Specializations in adult education include:
- Adult basic education
- Social advocacy and action
- Education outreach
- Community education and organizing
- Family and Adult literacy
- Professional and continuing education
- Distance education
- Human resource development
- Workplace learning and development
- Informal education
- Post-secondary education
- Religious education
Students who are enrolled in the masters in adult education degree program are usually interested in updating their job skills, learning a new skill and acquiring new knowledge. They are also highly motivated and just enjoy learning learning. Some job titles include: Adult Literacy Education Coordinator, adult Education Teacher and Adult Education Program Coordinator.
Adult Education and Related Programs
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