Adult education is the process whereby adults engage in systematic and sustained learning activities in order to gain new forms of knowledge, skills, attitudes, or values. Adult education can take place in the workplace, through "extension" school (e.g., Harvard Extension) or "school of continuing education" (e.g., Columbia School of Continuing Education). Other learning places include community colleges, folk high schools, colleges and universities, libraries, and lifelong learning centers. The practice may also include "Training and Development" which is often associated with professional development. Adult education has also been referred to as andragogy (to distinguish it from pedagogy). Educating adults differs from educating children in several ways. One of the most important differences is that adults have accumulated knowledge and work experience which can add to the learning experience. Another difference is that most adult education is voluntary, therefore, the participants are generally self-motivated. Adults frequently apply their knowledge in a practical fashion to learn effectively. They must have a reasonable expectation that the knowledge they gain will help them further their goals. For example, during the 1990s, many adults, including mostly office workers, enrolled in computer training courses. These courses would teach basic use of the operating system or specific application software. Due to the fact that the abstractions governing the user's interactions with a PC were so new, many people who had been working white-collar jobs for ten years or more eventually took such training courses, either at their own whim (to gain computer skills and thus earn higher pay) or at the behest of their managers.
In the United States, a more general example is when adults who dropped out of high school return to school to complete general education requirements. Most upwardly mobile positions require at the very least a high school diploma or equivalent....
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