My experience is that many of these adult learners are apprehensive about the extensive use of computers, digital devices and the Internet not only for education, but also in the work force.
One of the fastest growing trends in continuing education involves mobile learning
(Wetzel, 2013). The opportunity to access the Internet at almost any location, from a
variety of portable devices, has changed the face of adult education. Learners can now tailor their education to meet their own needs in regards to work and family. Courses can be accessed online 24 hours a day and are often self-paced (Wetzel, 2013).
As my learning partner, Lani, can attest, mobile learning allows for learning to take place anywhere in the world. Though she currently lives in Oman, she is able to access Canadian programs. The time difference of 11 hours is irrelevant to her success, so long as she is careful in scheduling live discussions for any required partner or group activities.
Another trend in continuing studies is the increase in online professional networks (Wetzel, 2013). These networks offer support and opportunities for adults wanting to remain current in their specific profession. They often include links to various bulletins, information and available courses. These networks are useful in ensuring that professionals avoid becoming a “dinosaur” in their industry.
The advent of MOOCS is another continuing education trend that has increased the ability for adult learners to teach themselves in an informal environment (Wentz, 2013). These massive open online courses are available to anyone with access to the Internet. They are not only free, but may be offered by some prestigious educational institutions.
Continuing Studies, whether formally or informally accessed, is becoming a necessary reality for today’s working adult. Many workers, though potentially skilled and/or educated when they entered the work force, now need to engage in continually upgrading their knowledge (StatsCan, 2011 ).
The latest figures from Statistics Canada show that in 2009, 41.2% of the work force was participating in some form of post-secondary, job-related training (StatsCan, 2011). This is up from 35% in 2002 and 29% in 1997 (StatsCan, 2011). Though there are no statistics available for 2013 at this time, one could probably assume that the rate of increase has remained fairly steady. This could imply that as many at 47% of adults in Canada may be taking some form of training at this time.
The massive surge of adults accessing continuing education in today’s society, combined with the latest trends and increase in wireless capabilities, clearly indicates that educators in continuing studies must engage in life-long learning themselves. As an instructor, I am constantly researching new methods of presenting materials and promoting learning. Courses like the Provincial Instructors Diploma Program allow me the ability to research and learn online, from my instructors and from my peers. I look forward to making use of newly acquired skills I gain throughout the process.
Wentz, D. (25, March 2013). What are the Future Trends in Continuing Education? Retrieved from http://suite101.com/artilc/what-are-the-future-trends-in-continuing-education-a232438.
Statistics Canada. (23, August 2011). A Glance at the Participation of Adult Workers in Formal, Job-related Training Activities or
Education. Retrieved from http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/81-004-x/2011002/article/11493-eng.htm.