Continuing education (called further education in the United Kingdom and Ireland) is an all-encompassing term within a broad spectrum of post-secondary learning activities and programs. The term is used mainly in the United States and Canada. Recognized forms of post-secondary learning activities within the domain include: degree credit courses by non-traditional students, non-degree career training, workforce training, formal personal enrichment courses (both on-campus and online) self-directed learning (such as through Internet interest groups, clubs or personal research activities) and experiential learning as applied to problem solving. GENERAL CONTINUING EDUCATION
General continuing education is similar to adult education, at least in being intended for adult learners, especially those beyond traditional undergraduate college or university age. However, it is not normally considered to include basic instruction such as literacy, English language skills, or programs such as vocational training or GED preparation. Instead, as the term suggests, it is assumed that the student already has an education and is simply continuing it. Frequently, in the United States, continuing education involves enrollment in college/university credit-granting courses, often by students enrolled part-time, and often offered through a division or school of continuing education of a college/university known sometimes as the university extension or extension school. Also frequently in the US, it can mean enrollment in non-credit-granting courses, often taken for personal, non-vocational enrichment (although many non-credit courses can also have a vocational function). Also, in the US, many such non-credit courses are offered by community colleges. The University of Wisconsin–Madison, in 1907, was the first academic institution in the US to offer what today would be considered an identifiable continuing education program. In 1969, Empire State College, a unit of the State University of New York, was the first institution in the US to exclusively focus on providing higher education to adult learners. In 1976 the University of Florida created its own Division of Continuing Education and most courses were offered on evenings or weekends to accommodate the schedules of working students. In the spring of 2009, Eduventures, a higher education consulting firm, released the results of a study that illustrated that the recession had made a significant impact on the views of prospective continuing education students. A survey of 1,500 adults who planned to enroll in a course or program within the next two years determined that while nearly half of respondents believed that the value of education had risen due to the recession, over two-thirds said the state of the economy had affected their plans to pursue continuing education.
CATEGORIES OF CONTINUING EDUCATION
Continuing education can be broken down into three categories: Formal education
* Structured and organized education, training or professional development that takes place in a school, in the workplace or through a professional credit-granting organization. * Learning takes place under the set rules of the school and the education must be completed within specific time lines. * Results in a formal certification.
* Education, training or professional development activities that are provided by by education institutions, community organizations and training agencies. * More flexible about meeting the student's needs.
* Depending on the program, this kind of education does not always result in a formal certification. Informal education
* The process of gaining knowledge, skills and values from daily experiences at home, in the community or at work. * Individuals learn in order to enrich themselves.
* May result in a certification, but not always.
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