Adult education can provide a number of skills and learning experiences that have a number of benefits and purposes: from basic skills to language learning, from leisure courses to vocational training, from family learning to health provision, adult education can provide a number of ways that will support individuals throughout their careers and lives.
Adult education transforms lives and provides new opportunities.
But it is not only the direct learning outcomes that are important for people: research shows that participating in non-formal adult education has a number of benefits. Adult education transforms lives and provides new opportunities. It can offer new job opportunities, open the pathway to formal learning, help school dropouts return to education, help parents in their tasks, activate people’s artistic and cultural passions and lead to healthier lifestyles.
Language learning contributes to:
- Better employment: boosting one’s career and to be able to work with colleagues or clients from other countries
- Well-being: wider benefits in terms of personal well-being, self-confidence and personal development
- Social inclusion: ability to interact with new groups of people, for learning across the ages and social groups
Adult education and health
Health education includes:
- Health and well-being: the benefits of adult education in terms of health (personal development, well-being, increased self-confidence, etc.)
- Health literacy: the capacity of people to understand how to deal with their health (indications of a doctor, instruction leaflets on medicines, information leaflets on illnesses, etc.)
- Promotion of healthy lifestyles: courses on nutrition or cooking but also yoga and gym classes, etc.
The data from the BeLL project show that adult learners experience numerous benefits from liberal adult education. They feel healthier and seem to lead healthier lifestyles; they build new social networks and experience improved well-being. Moreover, adults who participate in liberal adult education appear to feel more motivated to engage in lifelong learning and view it as an opportunity to improve their lives. These benefits were reported by learners across all course areas, ranging from languages and the arts to sport and civic education. […] People with a low level of education benefit particularly from adult education (ISCED 1: 32% and ISCED 2: 22 %).
Mel from the UK had been agoraphobic for thirteen years when, in September 2007, she plucked up the courage and enrolled on a literacy class. Despite extreme nerves, she started the class, finding it got easier each week. Mel enjoyed the course with Hull Adult Education, passing entry level 3 and levels 1 and 2 in Literacy. She completed her next goal, too, and passed Numeracy level 1.
Mel wanted to help others so she completed in-house volunteer training and started to volunteer in a class for adults with learning difficulties and disabilities. Wishing to become a tutor, Mel passed NVQ level 1 in Learning Support and progressed to the Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector course, which she hopes to complete soon. Now having the confidence, Mel enjoys days out with her family, has lost six stone in weight and volunteers at Dove House Charity Shop as well as continuing to learn.
“There is no stopping me now. I have gone from nothing to gaining a new life – all because I returned to learning,” smiles Mel.