Continuing education is closely associated with adult educations, except for a few distinctions. In particular, individuals who decide to continue education are assumed to already have the basic education. Hence, the purpose of completing education lies in advancing their professional skills and competence.
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However, people who plan to fulfill this purpose often confront a number of challenges hampering their desire to obtain higher degree in education. Individuals striving to continue education often take job positions and, as a result, they do not have enough time and resources for learning. Lack of coordination and inability to follow schedule are often the main obstacles to acquiring knowledge.
Apart from problem with schedule, the majority of adults cannot afford continuing education because of financial problems. Allocation of responsibilities is complicated for adults in case they need to continue education. Nevertheless, reassessment of their behavioral patterns can contribute to solving the problem of time and responsibility distributions.
Adults’ attitudes and behaviors are hard to predict in terms of their intention to continue education. According to the studies by Chiu Ming and Qijie, “normative believe was a better predictor of participation intention in continuing education than positive and negative attitudes in the contexts” (161).
Based on the Theory of Reasoned Action, it is possible to assume that adults’ different attitudes to continuing education often correlate with motivation to comply with societal norms. Indeed, the current social system approves the necessity to obtain a degree in order to receive a prestigious job and high social status.
Therefore, some of the individuals who need continuing education suffer from inappropriate coordination. Under these circumstances, further education has great potential for individuals taking part-time jobs, which leads to increased demand, as well as market significance of post-secondary education for adults.
Recent trends in continuing education involve adults into consumerist behavior. In the majority of cases, adult students search for the ways to reflect their demand to colleges and universities that have flexible schedule and modes of study. A consumer-like behavior allows educators to consider the learning process as a product or service.
At this point of Chiu Ming and Qijie, “…continuing education has become a market-driven industry and the adult students” (162). Such an approach, therefore, allows the educational leaders to predict the main reasons and trends in adults’ intentions and needs concerning their desire to continue the academic process.
In order to increase demand for post-secondary education, the instructors strive to improve the quality of continuing education. As an example, Van Hoof and Meehan believe that continuing education of health care professionals is a major condition for quality improvement in a clinician setting (207).
Other important components are associated with continuing education paradigms that refer to a prioritized list of educational objectives and outcomes. They specifically focus on necessary interventions, rationale for those interventions, and contextual factors affecting the outcomes of those interventions.
As a result, in order to meet the demands and concerns of adults entering higher education, specific emphasis should be placed on reconsidering the previous modes of adult education, as well as on outlining new continuing education paradigms that reflect important aspects of quality improvement. Hence, the main purpose of continuing education should be focused on change and important outcomes rather than on the actual program of post-education.
The development of modern continuing education programs should also be concerned with an individual centered-approach for adults to fulfill their unique. As a result, the accepted standards of adult education should not relate to traditional programs of teaching various disciplines, but to individualized approaches to each person entering a continuing education program.
At this point, Van Hoof and Meehan insist, “the paradigm flaw is its inability to account for the complexity of the learning process” (207). Hence, the programs that seek to enhance knowledge and competence of individuals are insufficient because they fail to consider changing factors of social and cultural background.
Practicing change, therefore, is the key for promoting continuing education among adults. Despite the emerged challenges, the modern adult learners are less resistant to change because of the possibility to promote their professional careers. The reality is that desire and accurate objectives are not enough for continuing education due to the financial problems.
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Therefore, there should be affordable, beneficial services that can allow adults to take various courses at a reasonable price (Dorch 14). Besides, educators should consider the adults’ greater engagement into the learning process, as compared to younger generation of students because they have much narrower goal orientation.
In conclusion, adults experience serious challenges for completing education and receiving a degree because of time constrains, location, and financial responsibilities for the tuition fee. At this point, the educational leaders should be interested in developing beneficial continuing education programs that can satisfy their needs in terms of flexibility.
Moreover, the development of distant learning has become a viable solution for adults who need to acquire knowledge and extra skills for professional advancement. Finally, adults are more goal-oriented during the learning process in comparison with students, and therefore, the academic process can become less time-consuming and problematic.
Chiu Ming, Lau, and Chen Qijie. “Modeling Participation Intention Of Adults In Continuing Education – A Behavioral Approach.” International Education Studies 5.3 (2012): 161-177. Print.
Dorch, Bernita. “Continuing Education.” Network Journal 19.4 (2012): 14-5. Print.
Van Hoof, Thomas and Thomas P. Meehan. “Integrating Essential Components Of Quality Improvement Into A New Paradigm For Continuing Education.” Journal Of Continuing Education In The Health Professions 31.3 (2011): 207-214. Print.