Analytic Quality Glossary


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Citation reference: Harvey, L., 2004-22, Analytic Quality Glossary, Quality Research International,

This is a dynamic glossary and the author would welcome any e-mail suggestions for additions or amendments. Page updated 20 January, 2022 , © Lee Harvey 2004–2022.


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Adult education

core definition

Adult education has two forms:

1. All forms of post-school education of students above a specified age.

2. Specially designed programmes for students above a specified age, which may or may not lead to a formal qualification but is usually certificated.

explanatory context


analytical review

European Commission, Education and Training, The Lifelong Learning Programme 2007–2013 (2008), Glossary states:

Adult education: This denotes all forms of non-vocational adult learning, whether of a formal, non-formal or informal nature.

The Commission goes on to describe an adult learner as

A learner participating in adult education. An "adult" in the Grundtvig sense refers to: persons over 25; young people below that age who are no longer undergoing initial education within the formal school or higher education system of the participating countries.


The Commission also provides the following definition:

Formal, Non-Formal and Informal Adult Education: Formal learning usually takes place in schools, universities or training institutions and leads to a diploma or certificate. Non-formal learning includes free adult education within study circles, projects or discussion groups advancing at their own pace, with no examination at the end. Informal learning can be found everywhere, e.g. in families, in the workplace, in NGOs, in theatre groups, or can also refer to individual activities at home, like reading a book.

associated issues


related areas

See also

lifelong learning


European Commission, Education and Training, The Lifelong Learning Programme 2007–2013, 2008, Glossary, available at last update: 11 April 2008, accessed 19 September 2012, not available 19 June 2019.

copyright Lee Harvey 2004–2022

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