Characteristics of adult and community learning

Adult and Community Learning, Education and Training or Adult Community Education (ACE), is:

1. Learner-centred, ie people learn most effectively where they are actively involved in decisions about the management, content, style and delivery of their learning

2. Responsive to community, ie. ACE supports local communities and communities of interest in identifying and meeting the educational needs of their members. It strengthens communities by building diverse skills and capabilities, including enterprise skills and community management skills. ACE contributes to the development of a cohesive, culturally diverse, creative and productive Queensland.

3. Accessible and inclusive, ie. learning is provided in an environment that is open and informal, with an emphasis of equality among learners and educators. It recognises a special responsibility for those people whose learning needs are not a priority for schools, the vocational education and training system or higher education. It offers pathways to learning in the more formalised education system.

4. Diverse, ie. programs include literacy, basic education, English and other languages, study skills, vocational preparation, training, skills development, continuing education, liberal education, and general adult education. It also recognises the important contribution to community learning made by groups that are involved in many and varied subject areas, such as crafts, arts, hobbies and recreation.

5. Offered by many and varied types of organisations in many settings, eg. adult and community education centres and colleges, TAFEs, neighbourhood houses and community centres, churches and schools, community service organisations, community groups and many more.

6. Flexible, ie. it is entrepreneurial and user-focussed, and has a long tradition of innovative delivery based on providing learning at times, in places and ways that are appropriate to the learner.

(adapted from National Policy: Adult and Community Education 1997)