Continuing education

Continuing education

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Continuing education 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
Adult education
Adult education is the practice of teaching and educating adults. Adult education takes place in the workplace, through 'extension' school or 'school of continuing education' . Other learning places include folk high schools, community colleges, and lifelong learning centers...

, at least in being intended for adult learners, especially those beyond traditional undergraduate college
College
A college is an educational institution or a constituent part of an educational institution. Usage varies in English-speaking nations...

 or university
University
A university is an institution of higher education and research, which grants academic degrees in a variety of subjects. A university is an organisation that provides both undergraduate education and postgraduate education...

 age. However, it is not normally considered to include basic instruction such as literacy
Literacy
Literacy has traditionally been described as the ability to read for knowledge, write coherently and think critically about printed material.Literacy represents the lifelong, intellectual process of gaining meaning from print...

, English language
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 skills, or programs such as vocational training or GED
GED
General Educational Development tests are a group of five subject tests which, when passed, certify that the taker has American or Canadian high school-level academic skills...

 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
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, 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 college
Community college
A community college is a type of educational institution. The term can have different meanings in different countries.-Australia:Community colleges carry on the tradition of adult education, which was established in Australia around mid 19th century when evening classes were held to help adults...

s.

The University of Wisconsin–Madison
University of Wisconsin–Madison
The University of Wisconsin–Madison is a public research university located in Madison, Wisconsin, United States. Founded in 1848, UW–Madison is the flagship campus of the University of Wisconsin System. It became a land-grant institution in 1866...

, 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
Empire State College
Empire State College, one of the thirteen arts and science colleges of the State University of New York, is a multi-site institution offering associate, bachelor's, and master's degrees. It is primarily oriented towards the adult learner...

, a unit of the State University of New York
State University of New York
The State University of New York, abbreviated SUNY , is a system of public institutions of higher education in New York, United States. It is the largest comprehensive system of universities, colleges, and community colleges in the United States, with a total enrollment of 465,000 students, plus...

, was the first institution in the US to exclusively focus on providing higher education
Higher education
Higher, post-secondary, tertiary, or third level education refers to the stage of learning that occurs at universities, academies, colleges, seminaries, and institutes of technology...

 to adult learners. In 1976 the University of Florida
University of Florida
The University of Florida is an American public land-grant, sea-grant, and space-grant research university located on a campus in Gainesville, Florida. The university traces its historical origins to 1853, and has operated continuously on its present Gainesville campus since September 1906...

 created its own Division of Continuing Education
University of Florida Division of Continuing Education
The University of Florida Division of Continuing Education has a campus in Gainesville, Florida and they also offer online instruction. The division was founded 32 years ago, and their mission is to offer flexible opportunities to students who might not otherwise have access to adult learning. The...

 and most courses were offered on evenings or weekends to accommodate the schedules of working students.

In the spring of 2009, Eduventures
Eduventures
Eduventures, Inc. is a privately held research and consulting firm that provides data, analysis and consulting to institutions of higher education and the higher education community...

, 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.

Continuing education for professionals


Within the domain of Continuing Education, professional continuing education is a specific learning activity generally characterized by the issuance of a certificate or continuing education unit
Continuing education unit
A Continuing Education Unit is a measure used in continuing education programs, particularly those required in a licensed profession in order for the professional to maintain the license. Examples of people who need CEUs include interior designers/interior architects, lighting designers,...

s (CEU) for the purpose of documenting attendance at a designated seminar or course of instruction. Licensing
Licensure
Licensure refers to the granting of a license, which gives a "permission to practice." Such licenses are usually issued in order to regulate some activity that is deemed to be dangerous or a threat to the person or the public or which involves a high level of specialized skill...

 bodies in a number of fields impose continuing education requirements on members who hold licenses to practice within a particular profession. These requirements are intended to encourage professionals to expand their knowledge base and stay up-to-date on new developments. Depending on the field, these requirements may be satisfied through college or university coursework, extension courses or conferences and seminars attendance. Although individual professions may have different standards, the most widely accepted standard, developed by the International Association for Continuing Education & Training, is that ten contact hours equals one Continuing Education Unit. Not all professionals use the CEU convention. For example, the American Psychological Association accredits sponsors of continuing education such as PsychContinuingEd.com and uses simply a CE approach. In contrast to the CEU, the CE credit is typically one CE credit for each hour of contact.

Method and format of continuing education


The method of delivery of continuing education can include traditional types of classroom lectures and laboratories. However, much continuing education makes heavy use of distance learning, which not only includes independent study, but which can include videotape
Videotape
A videotape is a recording of images and sounds on to magnetic tape as opposed to film stock or random access digital media. Videotapes are also used for storing scientific or medical data, such as the data produced by an electrocardiogram...

d/CD-ROM
CD-ROM
A CD-ROM is a pre-pressed compact disc that contains data accessible to, but not writable by, a computer for data storage and music playback. The 1985 “Yellow Book” standard developed by Sony and Philips adapted the format to hold any form of binary data....

 material, broadcast programming
Broadcasting
Broadcasting is the distribution of audio and video content to a dispersed audience via any audio visual medium. Receiving parties may include the general public or a relatively large subset of thereof...

 or Online Education which has more recently dominate the distance learning community. Many universities such as Southern New Hampshire University
Southern New Hampshire University
Southern New Hampshire University, also known as SNHU, is a private university in Manchester and Hooksett, New Hampshire. The university is accredited by the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, and also has numerous specialized...

, have begun to offer hybrid courses; where adult learners have the option of in-classroom learning, as well as taking online courses . Online courses have brought the possibility of obtaining an affordable college education, to many of those of whom it was previously out of reach.

In addition to independent study, the use of conference-type group study, which can include study networks (which can, in many instances, meet together online) as well as different types of seminars/workshops, can be used to facilitate learning. A combination of traditional, distance, and conference-type study, or two of these three types, may be used for a particular continuing education course or program.

See also


  • Concurrent enrolment
    Concurrent enrolment
    Concurrent enrolment or concurrent enrollment is a program through which students earn college credit for courses taken during high school. Students enroll at a university or college to attain high school and/or college credit for these courses. More broadly, it can refer to a student taking...

  • Continuing education unit
    Continuing education unit
    A Continuing Education Unit is a measure used in continuing education programs, particularly those required in a licensed profession in order for the professional to maintain the license. Examples of people who need CEUs include interior designers/interior architects, lighting designers,...

  • Continuing legal education
    Continuing Legal Education
    Continuing legal education is professional education of lawyers that takes place after their initial admission to the bar. In many states in the United States, CLE participation is required of attorneys to maintain their license to practice law...

  • Continuing medical education
    Continuing medical education
    Continuing medical education refers to a specific form of continuing education that helps those in the medical field maintain competence and learn about new and developing areas of their field. These activities may take place as live events, written publications, online programs, audio, video, or...

  • E-learning
    E-learning
    E-learning comprises all forms of electronically supported learning and teaching. The information and communication systems, whether networked learning or not, serve as specific media to implement the learning process...

  • Lifelong learning
    Lifelong learning
    Lifelong learning is the continuous building of skills and knowledge throughout the life of an individual. It occurs through experiences encountered in the course of a lifetime...

  • Workers' Educational Association
    Workers' Educational Association
    The Workers’ Educational Association seeks to provide access to education and lifelong learning for adults from all backgrounds, and in particular those who have previously missed out on education. The International Federation of Workers Education Associations has consultative status to UNESCO...

     in Australia and the UK

Further reading

  • Crimaldi, Laura, "Older residents follow Pathway to college", Boston Herald
    Boston Herald
    The Boston Herald is a daily newspaper that serves Boston, Massachusetts, United States, and its surrounding area. It was started in 1846 and is one of the oldest daily newspapers in the United States...

    , Sunday, January 4, 2009. About students successes in the College Pathways program at ABCD Learning Works in Boston
    Boston
    Boston is the capital of and largest city in Massachusetts, and is one of the oldest cities in the United States. The largest city in New England, Boston is regarded as the unofficial "Capital of New England" for its economic and cultural impact on the entire New England region. The city proper had...

    , Massachusetts.
  • Rogers, Alan, "Non-formal Education: Flexible Schooling Or Participatory Education?", Springer, 2005. ISBN 0387246363

External links