Foundations of Adult and Continuing Education
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More About This Title Foundations of Adult and Continuing Education


A research-based foundational overview of contemporary adult education

Foundations of Adult and Continuing Education distills decades of scholarship in the field to provide students and practitioners with an up-to-date practical resource. Grounded in research and focused on the unique needs of adult learners, this book provides a foundational overview of adult education, and an introduction to the organizations and practices developed to support adult learning in a variety of contexts. The discussion also includes select understandings of international adult education, policy, and methods alongside theoretical frameworks, contemporary and historical contexts, and the guiding principles of adult education today. Coverage of emerging issues includes the aging society, social justice, and more, with expert insight from leading authorities in the field.

Many adult educators begin practice through the context of their own experiences in the field. This book provides the broader research, theory, and practice needed for a deeper understanding of adult education and its place in society.

  • Learn the key philosophical and theoretical frameworks of adult education
  • Survey the landscape of the field through contemporary and historical foundations
  • Examine key guiding understandings and practices targeted to adult learners
  • Delve into newer concerns including technology, globalization, and more

Foundations of Adult and Continuing Education provides an expertly-led overview of the field, and an essential introduction to real-world practice.


JOVITA M. ROSS-GORDON is a professor of adult, professional and community education at Texas State University.

AMY D. ROSE is professor emerita of adult and higher education at Northern Illinois University.

CAROL E. KASWORM is W. Dallas Herring Professor emerita of adult and community college education at North Carolina State University.


Preface v

About the Authors xiii

1. What Counts as Adult Education? 1

2. Who Participates in Adult and Continuing Education?: Mapping the Adult Learning Landscape 33

3. Who Are Adult Educators, and What Do They Do? 71

4. Adult and Continuing Education as an Evolving Profession 103

5. Philosophy 137

6. Historical Perspectives: Contexts or Contours 171

7. The Adult Learner 215

8. Policy and Politics 255

9. Technology and Adult Learning 291

10. The Landscape of Adult Education: Prominent Organizational Contexts of Adult Education 323

11. The Landscape of Adult Education: Community-Based and Community Action Contexts of Adult Education 351

12. Changing Boundaries of Adult and Continuing Education 383

Index 407