Adult Learning and Development

Adult Development

A transforming economy and personal motivation for growth are making learning a permanent condition for Americans. Economically, many workers are finding they must continuously upgrade their skills and knowledge if they want to maintain employment, let alone remain competitive for paying jobs. Likewise, employers are finding they must constantly adapt their workforces and processes to an increasingly dynamic environment.

Motivationally, rising affluence and a greater variety of learning opportunities in American society are allowing a more diverse and affluent population to pursue education as a means to realize and transcend personal and societal potential. Once perceived as a remedial means to help adults catch up on education they should have had as youth, the adult education industry has emerged to facilitate perpetual learning that supports individual, social and economic well-being. The growth of adult education programs in non-traditional institutions is causing a rethinking of teaching practices in traditional institutions that seem slow to adapt to the diverse needs and abilities of adult learners.


The Adult Learning and Development category explores the emerging practice of adult education from its historical foundations, disparate perspectives, and emergent practices to identify research-based principles of adult education leading to effective education programs that meet the learning needs of individuals, organizations, and society. The articles that will appear in this section include the following: