Adult Education Critical Analysis

The major endeavor of adult education is to assist populace live more successfully by helping the adults boost their capability, or discuss shift, in their communal roles, to help them gain superior fulfillment in their private lives, and to help them in solving personal and community tribulations. It entails working with adults to support education for adulthood.

It could involve working with children so that they may grow to be educated adults. It is referred to as adult education not because it is restrained to adults but because adulthood maturity characterizes its limits. (Spencer B. 2006, p. 30)

Different ethnicity groups and societies define adulthood differently. It can be defined as a biological condition, lawful state, psychological state, and type of behavior or a situation of social roles. This means that it refers to a certain age group. Merriam and Brockett define adult education as “activities intentionally designed for the purpose of bringing about learning among those whose age, social roles, or self perception define them as adults.”

 (Merriam & Brockett, 1997, p.59) Adult education can also be referred to as the course of managing the exterior conditions that make possible the internal transformation in adults. It implies the conscious effort of learning something. Although previously adult educators paid attention to agencies and institutions, presently it applies in numerous places inclusive of the formal learning institutions.

The aim of adult education is to help adults acquire more knowledge and skills that they did not acquire in their formal education. (Merriam & Brockett, 1997, p.74)

The purpose of the learning organization is to empower and educate workers. Discuss

Learning is an activity in itself. It is an act of doing. A learning organization is an organization that encourages and supports its staff to acquire more education to add on their knowledge and skills even at an older age. These organizations feel that the adult education will enable staff to attain more skills and knowledge which aids them to take part in the public and working life.

This will enable the staff to perform better in their work and thus increase production and reduce the cost of hiring new employees. It also trains the adults for further study. It is a stir up instrumentality for changing life. Its principle is to give meaning to the categories of understanding and not classifications of knowledge. Some study done in the U.S in 2001 revealed that 39% of adults participated in the study. (p.139)

Adult education can be useful in the industry, commerce, health, citizenship, arts and humanities. (Faye Mallet, 2006, p. 141)

Today, adult education is emphasized all over the world and most leaders and employers are encouraging their staff to participate in Adult learning. Andragogy is the word that is used to refer to adult education. Learning and education are analogous with living and thus education is viewed as a means to survival, to understanding and to generate.

Though adult education has been facing the challenge of official identification, it has indicated an enormous growth since its inception. Adult education at present is looked upon as a matter of survival both communally and in person but not a dispensation. Its rationale is to provide meaning to the categories of experiences and not the categorization of knowledge. (Houle C, 1992, p.211)

In the 18th century, adult education was influenced by industrial revolution and increased technological know-how which saw the migration of people from rural areas to urban  centers hence  there was need to educate the adults to enable them work in the factories and other non- traditional occupations.

Today, adult education has been influenced by the advanced and changing technology. Adults mostly employed in white collar jobs must keep on acquiring more skills and knowledge if they are to keep with the pace of advancing and changing technology.

Most organizations that do not encourage adult learning keep on laying off its employees and recruit new ones who have skills based  on the current knowledge. (Spencer B. 1998, p.161)

A learning organization is one that intends to create its own future and presumes that education is a continuing and ingenious process for its affiliates and should become accustomed and convert itself in response to the requirements and ambitions of people both within and outside itself. A learning organization’s undertaking is not to learn but rather education and development is its mission.

A learning organization believes that an individual has got a lot of potential which lies locked and underutilized in the organizations. Education enables the workers to discover their potentials and thus fully utilize them to add on to their skills while at the same time reducing the production cost and hence increasing the profits of the organization.

According to Senge, “a learning organization is one that is structured in a manner consistent with the essence of human nature.” (Senge P, 1990, p.144)

Learning organization’s endeavors to achieve the superior needs of the people. These include self respect and self- actualization. They are vision led and are innovative. Their aim is to instill every new skill to their employees.They embrace change. Learning organizations help unshackle the massive potential of their members.

Its emphasis is that the full potential of a person should be utilized; hence the organization should understand and incorporate skills, knowledge, disciplines, and way of life, ethics and practices according to the management. (Senge P, 1990, p.144)

A learning organization aims to attain better product and service, a major decrease in wasted resources, aggravated work force, a chance to increase profits, a continued competitive advantage and better governmental and community relationships.

It helps the employees acquire skills in line with the changing technology hence the organization doesn’t have to recruit new people. These cuts down the cost of hiring new people to the organization and also reduce the chances of existing employees to be laid off. Employees are able work longer in life, hence save more since they are at par with the current technology.  (Senge P, 1990, p.147)

All adult education programs should be competence- based or have definitive learning outcomes in order to provide the workers of the future

Adult education has goals that classify employment aptitudes, capabilities and competencies which improve the economic growth of a country. The skills are instrumentally connected to the financial needs of the select few within the nation-state. Involving adults in learning is no longer viewed as a concession but rather a matter of continued existence both collective and individual.

Its aims are to eliminate illiteracy among the people. It helps individuals acquire skills which they did not acquire in the compulsory school system. (Lindeman E, 1989, p.245)

Adult education should be competence based if its aim is to have adults who are skill based in line with the present technology. Adult education makes it easy for the adults to gain high self-esteem. The participants develop great self-confidence in themselves and a great sense of self- initiative.

It gives power to the adults by making them educated and hence increasing their self-esteem. Empowered individuals through adult education gain a higher capability and wish for a social change. (Spencer B. 1998, p.164)

Adult education brings about democracy as it raises adults’ awareness of their rights and provides them with information and skills to protect them. It gives the girls and women a chance to gain literacy and other functional skills especially in countries where girls do not have equal access to education as boys.

It enables the women and the girls acquire knowledge and skills that help them provide for their families. This in a broader perspective facilitates equality as the people are able to know their rights because the individuals acquire communication skills, expertise and social and managerial processes by having a greater access to information. (Spencer B. 1998, p.170)

Adult education gives a chance to reach adults and youth who may have missed official schooling opportunity. Adult education can classify the cause of conflict and take steps to negotiate and mediate for a solution. It offers an opportunity to increase awareness on environmental issues. Adult literacy improves the efficiency and sustainability of the environment.

It also facilitates income redeployment and inters generational income. It gives adults a chance to secure employment, and salary increment. It reduces the chances of more workers being laid off in an organization. The organization is able increase its income generation and thus remain competitive in the global market. It reduces the overall cost incurred by an organization and increases its profits. (Spencer B. 1998, p.171)


Adult learning is essential both to an individual and the organization as a whole. It enables the organization utilize the full potential of an individual and hence increasing its productivity and profit margin. The organization reduces the cost of hiring and training new employees. The individual is also able to earn better salary, make wiser decisions by making use of their full potential.

They individuals are able to work longer in life. In the long run, it promotes equality among individuals and improves their relationship with each other. (Houle C, 1992, p.211)

Reference list

Faye, M. (2006) Adult Education. Galt Western Personnel Ltd publishers

Houle, C.O. ( 1992) The Literature of Adult Education. San Francisco: Jossey-

 Boss Publishers

Lindeman, E. C ( 1989) The meaning of Adult Education. Oklahoma research


Merriam, S & Brockett, Ralph. (1997) The Profession and Practice of Adult

 Education- An Introduction. San Francisco: Jossey- Boss Publishers

Senge,P. (1990) The Fifth Discipline- The Art and Practice of a learning


Spencer, B. (1998) The purpose of Adult Education- A short introduction.

 Toronto: Thompson educational publishing. ISBN 978-1-55077-161-9

Spencer, B. (1998) The purpose of Adult Education- A guide for students.

 Toronto: Thompson Educational publishing

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