What is Adult Learning and why is it important?

We all know that learning does not stop after the age of eighteen but continues throughout life. Learning is an essential tool that helps individuals and society grow and respond to change. This is especially important in a world where dramatic workplace and lifestyle changes have become a feature of all our lives.

‘Adult learning’, ‘post-compulsory learning’ and ‘lifelong learning’ are all terms that describe the learning we undertake throughout life. The professions sometimes term it “Continuing Professional Development – CPD”. Lifelong learning contributes to every aspect of life in Australia – the economy, environment, community work, family life and recreation.

In Australia there are thousands of opportunities to become involved with learning and each year millions of Australians participate in a learning activity.

Learning does not have to involve classrooms, enrolment, assignments or qualifications and all learning contributes to the making of us as productive and constructive individuals. Further, participating in learning does not have to mean that you need to be a student. You can become involved as a mentor, tutor, guide or volunteer, or simply participate as an equal member of a group. People who participate in lifelong learning develop skills and confidence that enable them to embrace change and seize new opportunities. People engaged in learning quickly become confident, innovative and enterprising people, better able to cope with all aspects of life. Learning is larger than qualifications.

Lifelong learning is a powerful tool for building prosperous and thriving communities in which people pool their resources, skills and knowledge, to advance the community as a whole. Therefore and importantly, on-going learning contributes to the concept of a civil society where tolerance and acceptance of diversity is developed and celebrated.

In an average year at Sydney Community College 11,000 plus students enrol in a vast array of subjects in categories such as Arts, Business, Languages, Lifestyle and Sport. There are learning options and outcomes to suit everyone. It is never too late or too soon to participate in some form of learning.

So, join a book club, become a volunteer, share your skills and mentor someone, learn a language or learn to cook. The choice is only limited by you.