LILLIPUT Learning Materials for Adult and Vocational Training

Tool type(s): 
Organisational Development
Tool type(s): 
Learning materials
Tool type(s): 
Personal Development
Examples of Good Practice: 
International Cooperation
Examples of Good Practice: 
Learning Organisations
Examples of Good Practice: 
Employability and Future Skills
Examples of Good Practice: 
Stakeholder Involvement
Target Sector(s): 
Target Sector(s): 

As we progress through the 21st century, adult and continuing vocational education organisations are constantly meeting the challenges of a rapidly changing educational environment. Not only are skills needs different year on year, but also new learning methods, personal updating imperatives and the requirements of students for ownership of their learning imposes distinctly different structures on the institution. Like many of their industrial clients and sponsors they need to transform themselves into ‘Learning Organisations’, sensitive to the needs and demands of all their stakeholders, and making their own unique contribution to the wider educational and community world within which they exist. Moreover, internal lifelong learning implementation issues are inextricably linked with the institution’s place in the wider learning environment, which may be called a ‘Learning City or Region or Community.’

Therefore Adult Education is one of the most important focuses for the development of a Learning Society in a Learning City and Region. Colleges and institutions which do little to develop the talents and skills of the majority of their lecturers, management staff and students are destined to fall behind the rapidly changing needs and demands of a 21st century world, to decline and eventually to die. Similarly, the local authority which shows little regard for the needs and demands of the citizens, communities and institutions under its care or which does not develop their creativity and their awareness, will descend into an inward-looking place with problems of social stability, economic decline and the memory of a missed opportunity.

Adult Education covers a wide variety of learning activity from straightforward vocational education courses at both degree and technician level, through continuing education for the updating of skills, competencies and knowledge to the more esoteric courses offering leisure time learning and personal development classes. There are remedial programmes such as those to give literacy skills for adults who missed out the first time round. There are courses for immigrants, prisoners, the socially, mentally and physically handicapped and religious communities. Adult Education takes place in purpose-built colleges, village halls, factories, community centres, church halls, theatres, museums, business centres, airports, galleries and even on the street.. It embraces all ages after the age of 18, the education of seniors after the age of 60 being equally important to a stable and successful society as the more economically justified career-oriented courses for school-leavers.

But Adult Education faces great challenges. Outside of vocational education its profile, and hence the resources made available to it, tend to be low in many local authorities. The demand is high and, because of the rapidly increasing growth in lifelong learning concepts, it is likely to increase exponentially in future years. At the same time there are many thousands of people, young and middle-aged, who have been so turned off education that they are disenfranchised from the joys of learning.

Adult Education has much to learn from Industry which will provide a large poportion of its students. We have seen in other modules how the more enlightened companies are encouraging all members of their workforce to get into the habit of learning and are willing to provide the funds to do so. Indeed large parts of Business and Industry have contributed much to the quantitative and qualitative increase both in active learning and in the number of people participating in it. It has pushed back the frontiers of educational practice in the way it uses educational materials, the methodologies it adopts to train and motivate its workforce and its perceptions of human potential. It embraces the latest ideas on how people learn and how to motivate learning. The local authority educational sector tends to have lagged well behind in this regard.

These materials in the Adult Learning module of the LILLIPUT project cover a wide selction of topics relating to the place of adult education in a lifelong learning region. They comprise an introduction, 4 topics and 11 lessons as follows

Topic 3.1 Introduction and existing commitment to Lifelong Learning
Lesson 3.1.1: Introduction, strategies and organisation
Lesson 3.1.2: Lifelong Learning Charters
Lesson 3.1.3: The Adult Education Institution as a Learning Organisation

Topic 3.2: Information, Communication and Access
Lesson 3.2.1: Promoting the Adult Education Institution
Lesson 3.2.2: Flexibility and Access
Lesson 3.2.3: The non-traditional student and Flexible Entry

Topic 3.3: Partnerships and Resources in the Adult Education Institution
Lesson 3.3.1 Cooperation with the community, city and region – Why?
Lesson 3.3.2 The institution’s policy for relations with the external world
Lesson 3.3.3: Partnerships and Advantages

Topic 3.4: Student and Staff Support and Development in Adult Education
Lesson 3.4.1 to 3.4.3 : Student development in the Adult Education Institution
Lessons 3.4.4 to 3.4.7: Staff Development in Adult Education

Each topic and lesson contains objectives and suggestions on how to teach them in a lifelong learning way. Support documents, diagrams, exercises and case studies are includes, related to each lesson.

They are useful for the continuing professional development of adult educators and administrators, and students will also find them a source of valuable ideas and knowledge.