Adult and continuing education

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Adult education is defined as the “continuation or resumption of organized learning after completing a differently extended first phase of education” and is now largely organized in a cooperative manner. A professional in adult education is called an adult educator .

Further training are all activities that serve to deepen, expand or update knowledge , skills and abilities (so-called competences ) of people who have completed an initial phase of education and have usually been gainfully employed or have worked in families.

The terms adult education , further training , qualification and andragogy are sometimes used synonymously , sometimes in the sense of separate educational levels. In the scientific and professional-practical specialist literature, the description of post-school education as adult / continuing education or adult education and continuing education predominates . In the past, the term popular education was common for continuing education; today it is limited to the adult education centers as the most important institutions of public adult education.

Further training is defined as complementary and ongoing training in a profession that has been learned, for example learning an additional method or training to become a master or technician. Following this distinction leads

  • Further education Further education beyond the previous professional orientation ;
  • Fort education continued education in their own compartment by deepening existing knowledge and updated.


In general, adult and continuing education in Germany is classified according to various criteria.


Degree of formalization :

  • formal learning as degree-related education / further training
  • non-formal learning as non-qualification-related education / further training
  • informal learning as free, non-institutionalized learning

Forms of professional development:

  • Training on the job ( further training at the traditional workplace in a company)
  • Training near the job (advanced training / advanced training in the company, but not at the previous workplace)
  • Training off the job (training that takes place outside of a company )

New media in adult education / continuing education:

In addition, the following criteria in the "AES-study" (were Adult Education Survey ) for the operationalization of the training implemented : Functional allocation (not professional / professional) support (public / private), financing (operational, individual) and participation reasons (business, Private).

The classical understanding of education, according to which a teacher conveys content to the learners, is becoming less and less important. In some industries it is hardly possible for the lecturer to keep up to date with the latest technical knowledge . With the use of new media, learning becomes independent of time and place.

For adult education / further training, own theoretical principles and adult-friendly methods are developed or adapted. A separate adult educational learning theory, the theory of differentiation, separates the learning of adults from that of children.


The first approaches to adult education emerged in the course of the Enlightenment as early as the 18th century, for example when the Royal Danish Agricultural Academy in Glücksburg was founded by the agricultural reformer Philipp Ernst Lüders .

The origins of adult education in Germany go back to the efforts of workers' education associations in the 19th century, which initially postulated clear emancipatory goals. This is also where the first trade union and socialist training initiatives are founded. The practice of current federal German adult education, on the other hand, sees itself more in the tradition of the bourgeois educational ideal.

Reading and literary societies were the first steps in the middle class in the 18th century. At the end of the 19th century, the popular education associations came into being. In addition, the movement of workers' education developed , which continues in trade union education. First insights on the need for life-long learning ( lifelong learning ) are found in the industrialized society the late 19th century.

In 1871 the society for the dissemination of popular education was founded by middle-class circles . In the USA, at the end of the 19th century, Chautauquas were the first events for mass further education.

Independently of this, the first adult education centers arose in Germany . B. the Humboldt Academy in Berlin. The Danish folk high school, Grundtvig-style , had a lasting influence on the development of adult education centers in Germany . Nikolai Frederik Severin Grundtvig is considered to be the founder of the very first adult education center in 1844 .

In the twentieth century, Paulo Freire pursued an innovative path in adult education with the combination of literacy and emancipatory awareness-raising, which is followed by critical pedagogy in the Anglo-Saxon countries .


Lifelong learning and the knowledge society

The concept of lifelong learning has been advocated by international organizations such as UNESCO and the OECD since the 1970s. In the 1970s, however, this concept was already being criticized radically. Lifelong learning as a concept is understood in Germany as an educational policy program in order to be able to “bring about a sustainable modernization of further education, learning culture and educational theory building”. On the other hand, it also means learning processes that include the entire life span.

The topicality of the concept of lifelong learning is related to the realization that societies are at the transition to so-called “ knowledge societies ”. Knowledge already plays the most important role from an economic point of view.

"The conclusions of the Lisbon European Council affirm that the successful transition to a knowledge-based economy and society must go hand in hand with an orientation towards lifelong learning."

Criticism comes from the ranks of the social sciences. Marcel Schütz criticizes in the Frankfurter Rundschau that the numerous declarations and documents on the socially desirable effects of lifelong learning often unilaterally presented the attractive aspects of personal and professional further training activity. A closer analysis reveals that business associations and political decision-making levels have an eye above all on continuous professional adaptation and flexibility when further training is claimed as an individual added value. The pimped up statements sometimes made the topic significantly more than can be determined in practical professional reality. With the appropriate management and optimization rhetoric, professional life is often discussed one-sidedly "as a kind of fitness program".

Cooperative-autonomous learning

Today, adult education is largely cooperative. Independent personalities share their knowledge and experience with one another in order to learn with one another and from one another in a team.

The key words are: learning through discovery , learning by doing , project teaching , learning by teaching . Trainers in adult education design the learning environment. They help the learners to find their learning goals, support them as moderators and coaches and accompany them in the implementation of what they have learned in their professional and private everyday lives (transfer).

Including adult education

In inclusive adult education , everyone has equal access to education, regardless of their cultural, religious or family background. Inclusion is an important socio-political challenge in adult education. Existing social boundaries can be broken down and new ones prevented through encounter, joint learning and cooperation. All people are seen as a group with different needs. Inclusion is a new way of looking at sociology and goes far beyond the concept of integrative education . In fact, even today there are few inclusive offers in adult education.


Adult and advanced training is of particular importance for the social and professional integration of people with a migration background . The reduction of educational disadvantage requires the institutional opening of educational institutions and further training work that takes into account the diversity of potential participants.

Law and training

The right to free development of the personality is enshrined in various codes at national and international level. This also results in a state duty to promote adult education. In Germany, the different state laws are the basis of the funding, which is structured accordingly differently. In most cases, a cooperative pluralism of providers (public, church, trade union etc.) is encouraged.

Since the 1970s, in addition to this institutional expansion, there has been an attempt to improve individual participation through educational leave or educational exemption law: employees have the right, as a rule, 5 days per year for the purposes of vocational and political education (here too, the state laws differ) to be released. However, only a minority of around 1% to 2% of those entitled make use of this right.

Consumer protection

In 2002, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) initiated the further training test team at Stiftung Warentest . This working group carries out around 12 to 15 tests per year in the area of ​​openly accessible professional training. Various forms of learning are included in the tests (e.g. face-to-face teaching , e-learning or distance learning ) and various subject areas (e.g. language courses, commercial training, training in soft skills), but also topics such as training advice or training databases . The tests are carried out in accordance with the articles of association of Stiftung Warentest, the test results are published regularly in the Stiftung Warentest media. In addition, general information is made available free of charge in the compact form of guides, e.g. B. on the topics of "Financing further training", "Becoming a geriatric nurse" or "Learning languages".

Participation in further training

Participation in further training has been recorded in Germany by the Adult Education Survey (AES) since 2007 . The AES is carried out in all member states of the EU and thus allows a European comparison. The data are collected through a representative survey that records participation and non-participation in further training events. The target group for the survey are people between 18 and 64 years of age.

Participation in further training by area

The results of the AES 2010 illustrate the participation in further training of the population in Germany in the period from April 2009 to June 2010. Participation in further training was 42% during this period. In-company further training takes up the largest part with 59%. This includes further training events that take place during working hours or have been ordered by the company. Individual job-related further training was taken up by 23%. It is perceived for professional reasons, but is not directly related to the profession. Non-job-related continuing education is the smallest area within continuing education at 18%. It is not perceived for professional reasons, but for personal interest.

Participation in further training according to type of event

In the context of further training, 47% mainly attend short events lasting a few hours up to a day at most. 27% of the events attended last several days, 25% are events that last from several weeks to several months. According to the AES, the events can be divided into four types. "Courses and courses, short-term educational or advanced training events, i.e. lectures, training courses, seminars or workshops, on-the-job training and private lessons in leisure time." "The topics of the events are business, work and law (31%), [...] nature, Technology and computers (26%), […] health and sport (16%), […] languages, culture and politics (12%) as well as pedagogy and social skills (11%). "

Participation in further training according to gender and age

Among the full-time employees, 53% of women and 50% of men take part in further training events. If the further training participants are considered in age groups, the 35 to 54 year olds are the most active in further training with 47%. This is followed by the group of 18 to 34 year olds with 41%. In the 55 to 64 age group, participation in further training is 34%.

Participation in further training according to migration background

According to the National Education Report Germany 2016, people with a migration background in Germany take part in further training to a significantly lower extent than those without a migration background (8.4% compared to 16.1%). While there are hardly any differences between people with and without a migration background in general and continuing vocational training, there are large differences in participation in continuing vocational training.

Compared to the first generation (people who immigrated themselves), the second generation of those who immigrated between the 1950s and 1980s showed greater participation in further vocational training. This is interpreted in such a way that “further vocational training functions less as an instrument for professional reintegration and more as a professional consolidation of long-term migrants of the second generation”. Especially among the low-skilled, the participation in further training of the second generation of migrants remains significantly behind that without a migration background.

There are differences depending on the region of origin: immigrants from the EU 15 countries most often (13% in 2014) take part in further training, least often immigrants from Turkey (4.5%), from the former Yugoslavia (6.6%) and from the former Soviet Union.

Adult and continuing education institutions

Carriers and providers of public adult education / further training are u. a. the family education centers , folk high schools and community colleges , trade union and church organizations, training centers, academies , training centers of the chambers (z. B. Chamber of Commerce, Chamber of Crafts), private educational institutions, educational institutions in companies. In addition to teaching and research, continuing education is also one of the statutory tasks of universities ( academic continuing education ). The general higher education entrance qualification can be acquired at an evening grammar school , via distance learning or - in day form - at a college .

Educational counseling

In addition to the providers of further education, the chambers, which are mostly providers of further education at the same time, offer further training advice in the professional area. Agency-neutral advice, often also for general further education, is offered by independent further education advice centers, which are mostly anchored at the municipal level. Depending on the focus, these provide information on educational pathways, further training opportunities, funding opportunities, re-entry after baby break and consumer protection; In addition to information material, orienting consultations are usually offered.

Databases and Usage

Information on further training offers is provided in around 170 further training databases. The training databases can be differentiated into regional, nationwide, topic-specific and target group-specific databases. In order to assess their quality, minimum standards were developed which the content should have. These are defined by DIN-PAS 1045.

More women than men use databases - and their share is increasing, most recently to 64 percent of female users in 2014. On average, those looking for further training who consult a database are 42.5 years old. 70 percent are employees, 13 percent self-employed, 8 percent unemployed. In 2013, the respondents spent 924 euros on further training.

18 percent of those who research the databases then take part in a further training course and give the school grades a 2.4. Almost 75 percent of those questioned rate the search options and almost two thirds the user-friendliness of the databases as good or very good. But only half perceive the completeness of the researchable courses and seminars, i.e. the market coverage, as good or even better.

A distinction is made between one-topic surveys, which focus on participation in further training, and multi-topic surveys, which also capture other socio-demographic characteristics. Process-produced data ( big data ) are another source of information on educational processes for adults.


Adult education often does not take place in frontal lessons, but with a strong focus on action, which has to meet the typical professional experience and practical life expectations as well as the goals of the initiator as well as the participants themselves.

Action orientation

In addition to the methods listed in the so-called " Göttingen Catalog ", other teaching methods of self-directed learning have established themselves which allow or require the learner to be largely independent in implementing the learning objectives, e.g. B .:


Training on the job

Training on the job is a form of professional development that is described in German as "learning at the workplace" . It takes place at the workplace by watching and participating under the guidance of a skilled worker - both in the induction phase and in the routine phase, in order to then avoid or reverse operational blindness in a company by introducing additional and new aspects into the respective work flow.

Other methods of personnel development are "training off the job" (education without physical proximity to the workplace) and " training near the job ".

Research and study

For further education, further education innovations and further education research there is an independent professorship at many universities in the Federal Republic of Germany . Adult education / further education can be studied at numerous universities as a field of study in educational science as part of a diploma or BA / MA degree. Adult education is usually carried out through chairs and professorships; at some universities there are several professorships or entire institutes that specifically deal with adult education, for example in Duisburg-Essen.

In addition, the German Institute for Adult Education deals with developments in the field of adult and further education. The DIE itself conducts application-relevant and basic research, provides scientific services and develops innovative concepts for practice. The DIE provides its research work and services on a scientific basis with the aim of professionalising the science of continuing education and the practice of adult education.

The central specialist body for research discourses and results in adult and continuing education science is REPORT. Journal for continuing education research . The journal has been peer-reviewed since 2006 and publishes peer-reviewed, high-quality articles on current research results and developments in adult education science.

Even with citizens universities and senior academies , individual universities and community colleges engage in further education.

Education management deals with the organizational part of adult education .

Adult education in Lithuania

Adult education in Lithuania is part of Lithuanian education. A distinction is made between vocational schools and general education schools. There are a few high schools and several middle schools. The Abitur is offered there. A school-leaving certificate is issued after the Abitur exams. The adult education organizations in Lithuania are grouped together in the Lithuanian Adult Education Association ( Lietuvos suaugusiųjų švietimo asociacija ).

See also

Portal: Education  - Overview of Wikipedia content on education

Forms of education




  • Marc Beutner: NetEnquiry. Innovative approaches to serious mobile learning for training and further education. ISBN 978-3-946826-00-2 .
  • Mark Bechtel, Susanne Lattke: Portrait further education European Union. Published by the German Institute for Adult Education (DIE), Bertelsmann, Bielefeld 2005, ISBN 3-7639-1912-0 .
  • Peter Brandt, Ekkerhard Nuissl: Portrait Further Education Germany . Ed .: DIE. Bonn 2009, ISBN 978-3-7639-1970-3 .
  • German Education Council (ed.): Recommendations of the Education Commission. Structure plan for education . Stuttgart 1970.
  • Christoph Ehmann: Education Financing and Social Justice . Bielefeld 2001.
  • German Institute for Adult Education: Trends in Further Education: DIE trend analysis 2014 . Ed .: DIE. Bonn 2013, ISBN 978-3-7639-5313-4 .
  • Helmut Kuwan u. a .: Reporting system for advanced training IX . Bonn 2006 ( [PDF; 2.9 MB ]).
  • Bernhard Nagel: The legal system in further education . In: Krug, Nuissl (Ed.): Praxishandbuch Weiterbildungsrecht . Cologne March 2007.
  • Peter Speck, Detlef Jürgen Brauner (Eds.): Educational innovations, new educational concepts and business models . Sternenfels 2014, ISBN 978-3-89673-668-0 .


  • Rolf Arnold: Adult education: an introduction to basics, problems and perspectives. 4. revised Edition. Schneider-Verlag Hohengehren, Baltmannsweiler 2001, ISBN 3-89676-402-0 .
  • Peter Faulstich, Christine Zeuner: Adult Education: An Action-Oriented Introduction. Juventa, Munich 1999, ISBN 3-7799-1541-3 .
  • Hermann Forneck, Daniel Wrana: A parceled field. Introduction to adult education. wbv, Bielefeld 2005, ISBN 3-7639-3165-1 .
  • Jochen Kade, Dieter Nittel, Wolfgang Seitter: Introduction to adult education / continuing education. Kohlhammer, Stuttgart 1999, ISBN 3-17-015904-6 .
  • Karl Platzer: Legal foundations of adult education with special consideration of adult education laws. WiKu-Verlag, Duisburg, ISBN 3-86553-153-9 .
  • Gerhard Strunk: Adult education - concept, history, system and understanding of tasks. In: W. Sarges, R. Fricke (Hrsg.): Psychology for adult education / further education. A manual in basic terms. Hogrefe, Göttingen 1986, ISBN 3-8017-0231-6 , pp. 1-19.
  • Jürgen Wittpoth: Introduction to Adult Education. 4th edition. Budrich, Opladen 2013, ISBN 978-3-8252-8529-6 .
  • Gertrud Wolf: On the construction of the adult - basics of an adult educational learning theory. VS-Verlag, Wiesbaden 2011, ISBN 978-3-531-18128-8 .

Manuals and dictionaries

  • Rolf Arnold, Sigrid Nolda, Ekkehard Nuissl (Hrsg.): Dictionary adult education. 2nd, revised edition. Julius Klinkhardt, Bad Heilbrunn 2010, ISBN 978-3-8252-8425-1 . (Online edition see links below)
  • Bernd Dewe, Günther Frank, Wolfgang Huge: Theories of adult education. A manual. Hueber, Munich 1988, ISBN 3-19-006945-X .
  • Thomas Fuhr, Philipp Gonon, Christiane Hof (eds.): Handbook of Educational Science. Volume 4: Adult Education - Continuing Education. Ferdinand Schöningh, Paderborn 2011, ISBN 978-3-8252-8448-0 .
  • Peter Jarvis (Ed.): International Dictionary of Adult and Continuing Education. Kogan Page, London 1999.
  • Werner Sarges, Reiner Fricke (Ed.): Psychology for adult education / further education. A manual in basic terms. Hogrefe, Göttingen 1986, ISBN 3-8017-0231-6 .
  • Werner Sarges, Friedrich Haeberlin (Ed.): Marketing for Adult Education - With an introduction by Joachim H. Knoll. Schroedel, Hannover 1980, ISBN 3-507-36703-3 .
  • Rudolf Tippelt (Hrsg.): Handbuch Adult Education / Further Education. Leske & Budrich, Opladen 1999, ISBN 3-8100-2329-9 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. German Education Council (Ed.): Recommendations of the Education Commission. Structure plan for education. Bonn 1970, p. 197 .
  2. Duden: Adult educators .
  3. ^ Bernhard Nagel: The legal system in further education . In: Krug, Nuissl (Ed.): Praxishandbuch Weiterbildungsrecht . Cologne March 2007, Section 1, p. 3 .
  4. Helmut Kuwan and a .: Reporting system for advanced training IX . Bonn 2006, p. 12 ( [PDF]).
  5. Tippelt, 1999, p. 11.
  6. ^ Hans Böckler Foundation: Qualification - Further Education. Retrieved September 25, 2014 .
  7. See Federal Institute for Vocational Training (1996): Diagrams for Vocational Training. Volume 2 Continuing Education. Bielefeld
  8. Juliane Giese, Jürgen Wittpoth: adult education institutions. In: T. Fuhr, P. Gonon, C. Hof (Hrsg.): Handbuch der Erziehungswissenschaft. Volume 4: Adult Education / Continuing Education. Schöningh, Paderborn 2011, pp. 199-217.
  9. ^ Marc Beutner, Marcel Gebbe: Serious Mobile Learning. More than the use of mobile devices . In: Marc Beutner (Ed.): NetEnquiry. Innovative approaches to serious mobile learning for training and further education . Ingenious Knowledge, Cologne 2016, ISBN 978-3-946826-00-2 , p. 41-69 .
  10. ^ Doris Hirschmann: Further education behavior in Germany - Adult Education Survey (AES) trend reports. Retrieved December 4, 2019 .
  11. BMBF: Final report on the "Education Delphi". Potentials and dimensions of the knowledge society. Effects on educational processes and educational structures. Munich 1998.
  12. on the Delphi survey
  13. Gertrud Wolf: On the construction of adults - foundations of an adult educational learning theory. VS-Verlag, Wiesbaden 2011, p. 54f.
  14. See Wolfgang Ayaß : Max Hirsch . Social liberal union leader and pioneer of adult education centers, Berlin 2013 (= Jewish miniatures 141).
  15. Heinrich Daubner, Etienne Verne (ed.): Freedom to learn. Alternatives to lifelong schooling. The unity of life, learning and work. Reinbek near Hamburg, 1976.
  16. ^ Rainer Brödel: Lifelong learning. In: T. Fuhr, P. Gonon, C. Hof (Hrsg.): Handbuch der Erziehungswissenschaft. Volume 4: Adult Education / Continuing Education. Schöningh, Paderborn 2011, p. 236.
  17. Joachim Ludwig: Structures of lifelong learning - an introduction. In: C. Hof, J. Ludwig, C. Zeuner (eds.): Structures of lifelong learning. Schneider Hohengehren, Baltmannsweiler 2007, pp. 1–3.
  18. ^ German Institute for Adult Education (2000). Commission of the European Communities. Memorandum on Lifelong Learning, SEK (2000) 1832.
  19. Marcel Schütz: Flexible in professional life. In: Frankfurter Rundschau . 4th July 2015.
  20. Ulrich Heimlich, Isabel Behr: Inclusion of people with disabilities in adult education / continuing education. In: R. Tippelt, Aiga von Hippel (Ed.): Handbook for adult education / training. VS-Verlag, Wiesbaden 2011, pp. 813-826.
  21. Press text by Halit Öztürk's book “Migration and Adult Education”. W. Bertelsmann Verlag (mbv), accessed on February 16, 2020 .
  22. Adult education for the migration society. In: Accessed February 16, 2020 .
  23. BMBF (ed.): Further education behavior in Germany. AES 2010 Trend Report, Bonn 2011, pp. 5–8.
  24. BMBF (ed.): Further education behavior in Germany. AES 2010 trend report. Bonn 2011, pp. 5–8, 19–21.
  25. BMBF (ed.): Further education behavior in Germany. AES 2010 trend report. Bonn 2011, p. 5.
  26. BMBF (ed.): Further education behavior in Germany. AES 2010 trend report. Bonn 2011, p. 9.
  27. BMBF (ed.): Further education behavior in Germany. AES 2010 trend report. Bonn 2011, p. 14.
  28. BMBF (ed.): Further education behavior in Germany. AES 2010 trend report. Bonn 2011, p. 6.
  29. Education and Migration. In: Chapter H, National Education Report 2016. Retrieved February 16, 2020 . Pp. 181-183 .
  30. IWWB database
  31. Online surveys by the IWWB
  32. Christiane Schiermann: Vocational training . Springer-Verlag, 2007, ISBN 978-3-531-90597-6 ( limited preview in the Google book search).
  33. Viktor Mayer-Schönberger, Kenneth Cukier: Learning with Big Data: The Future of Education . Redline Verlag, 2014, ISBN 978-3-86881-225-1 ( limited preview in Google Book Search).
  34. ^ Business dictionary , training-on-the-job
  35. EB / WB at universities  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.@1@ 2Template: Toter Link /  
  36. ^ DIE - German Institute for Adult Education
  37. REPORT. Journal for continuing education research