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Adult learning helps a person adjust to the new technological developments and requirements of employees. Additionally, some old people do not have the sufficient literacy skills that are indispensable for every individual who lives in the modern society (Myers & Broucher, 2006). Thus, it is necessary to fill these gaps. Various stakeholders should work together to provide better opportunities for those people who should acquire new knowledge and skills. Much attention should be paid to the social and structural factors that can impact a person’s experiences and his/her attitudes towards continuous education. These issues can be better discussed by examining the report written by Myers and Broucher (2006).
Identification of social and structural factors
It is possible to distinguish several structural factors that impact adult education. In particular, one should focus on the policies adopted by the state. For instance, the government attaches importance to the so-called Workplace Skills Initiative. This program is supposed to help workers acquire new skills (Myers & Broucher, 2006, p. 50). Secondly, much attention should be paid to the strategies adopted by educational organizations. Currently, many colleges and universities design programs that are intended for adult learners. Nevertheless, governmental institutions should develop more inclusive policies that can support such students.
Comparison and contrast
At the same time, social factors also play a significant role. In this case, one should discuss the family environment of a person. For instance, people are more likely to continue their education, if they have many family responsibilities (Myers & Broucher, 2006, p. 30). This argument can apply to individuals who have children. As a rule, people cannot cope with this task provided that they do not receive support from their relatives (Ostrouch & Ollagnier, 2008, p.69). Additionally, the attitudes of employers can be viewed as an important variable. For instance, some of them decide to promote the learning of workers. In contrast, other companies prefer to hire those employees who already have the necessary professional qualifications.
The main similarity between social and structural factors is that both of them can profoundly affect people’s readiness and willingness to acquire new knowledge and skills. Moreover, they can shape a person’s perceptions of his/her ability to pursue their studies. For example, an individual can adopt a more favorable attitude towards adult learning if there are efficient educational policies. Moreover, this person can feel more confident if he/she is encouraged by family members (Ostrouch & Ollagnier, 2008, p.69).
However, they are important distinctions should be considered. In particular, social factors cannot be easily controlled or modified by the government. For instance, this institution cannot change the family responsibilities of a person. Furthermore, public officials cannot transform HR practices of businesses. Another distinction is that structural factors influence practically every social group. In contrast, social factors affect people when they interact with their employers, community organizations, or family. These distinctions should be considered by educators and policy-makers.
To some degree, this discussion suggests that the government should create policies mitigating the adverse impacts of social factors. For instance, educational programs offered to adult learners should be more flexible in terms of scheduling. Moreover, these practices should be made more family-centered because this approach can minimize the conflicts between adult learners and their relatives (Hill, 2011). Currently, these issues are not sufficiently addressed by Canadian policy-makers. Nevertheless, legislators recognize the complexity of this task. Moreover, they want to understand the factors affecting people’s attitude towards continuous education. Thus, they are more likely to design more efficient policies.
Hill, L. (2011). Adult Education for Health and Wellness: New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education, Number 130. New York, NY: John Wiley & Son.
Myers, K., & Broucher, P. (2006). Too Many Left Behind: Canada’s Adult Education and Training System. Toronto, Canada: Canadian Policy Research Networks.
Ostrouch, J., & Ollagnier, E. (2008). Researching Gender in Adult Learning. New York, NY: Peter Lang.