by Malcolm S. Knowles and Chester Klevins, editor of the compendium (of which this is a chapter): Materials and Methods in Adult and Continuing Education (Los Angeles: Klevins Pubs., 1987).
The concept of lifelong learning is accepted in most every country and culture throughout the world.
Education is no longer construed as something which children need in order to get ready for life. Rather it is embodied in the total constellation of living — requiring all people to learn new skills, and new attitudes and behaviors so they may better meet their survival needs.
Adult and continuing education (lifelong learning) can help provide a better quality of life for people here and throughout the world.
According to experts in the fields of both economics and education, it will be necessary for every adult to return for reeducation or retraining from three to five times during his/her lifetime, in order to maintain working status. This will be required because of obsolescence or technological changes that will occur in the labor marketplace.
Adult education is, or ought to be, a highly political and value laden activity. When individuals are involved in education, they tend to expand their awareness of self and environment, their range of wants and interests, their sense of justice, their need to participate in decision-making activities, their ability to think critically and reason rationally, their ability to create alternative choices of action, and, ultimately, their power or control over the forces and factors which affect them — this is political action.
Adults need relevant and pertinent education now. They need access to learning opportunities which will enable them to effectively gather and analyze the information necessary for attaining higher order solutions to increasingly complex problems.
The boons of technology are many, wondrous, and varied; but the havoc it has brought into the lives of some can be expressed in one word — unemployment. However, if someone is willing to be trained or retrained, to change and to adapt, continuing education offers a new beginning.
This changing world has brought American culture to the state where it depends upon education to make its civilization operate successfully. The functions of adult and continuing education are definite and necessary to the common good.