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EPALE - E-Plattform für Erwachsenenbildung in Europa


EPALE discussion: the future of adult learning

von EPALE Moderator

Online discussion future of adult learning

On Wednesday 8 July 2020, starting from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. CEST, EPALE will be hosting an online discussion on the future of adult learning.

  • How do you imagine the future of the adult learning sector in the next five or ten years?
  • What do you think will happen – and what would you like to happen?
  • What new challenges and opportunities will emerge?


We invite all members of the EPALE community to share their ideas about the future of adult learning with us: ambitious or cautious, optimistic or worried.

Share your experiences, tips, case studies and good practices with the EPALE community! 

Please join our online discussion, facilitated by EPALE Expert Gina Ebner, Secretary-General of EAEA.


Comments will be open on 29 June so participants can introduce themselves or post their comments in advance.

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Bild des Benutzers David LOPEZ
Probably what WILL  Education and training will be a very strong digitalisation of learning processes. But teachers, trainers WILL be essential to try to correct inequalities created by digital gaps. What WILL be appearing in 10 years, it will be new methodologies of digital learning, where processes will have more interactions between lerners and trainers.

What I would LIKE is that the crisis of CORONAVIRUS  revealed the importance of Humans, and of social responses to an exterior problem. Then I'd LIKE that this dynamic will not desappear to favour as in the ancient times the role of economye and market. The health crisis revealed  the necessity to put human being in the centre of our social and civil life. I'd LIKE that we are not coming back to our errors : one market creating inequalities. And education , training in the centre of human processes for a better life
Bild des Benutzers Regina EBNER
Let's move to the last part of the discussion: what will happen to adult learning and education in the next 10 years? I would like to ask you to consider two aspects: what do you think WILL happen? What would you LIKE to happen? We can then see how close our wishes and visions are to the reality that we imagine
Bild des Benutzers Kees Schuur
1. Knowledge is everywhere and always available and the amount is increasing
2. The network-society will grow, with more people working at home. 
3. From adult education towards network-learning: social learning in communities of practice supported by learning environments varying from pictures, youtube videos, MOOCs, webinars, online discussions, and of course meeting each other. Meeting places to learn can be everywhere in will be informally lead by the CoP
4. More and more activities that require Skills will be taken over by machines and robots
5. The labour market will be harder to deal with. It will be a competence-market with the competence suppliers (person, ICT program, robot) and the competence-demand (all activities in life: at home, in learning environments, for work, for hobby,..)
6. Fewer jobs, especially for low-skilled and elderly. Special attention will be given to work-life balance and guidance
7. The changes will go faster and will be irregular: work-security is getting lower
8. the too slow change of personal and societal mental models
and most important:
9. Less funding for education, training and support services such as career guidance and counselling, as we still have to deal with and to recover from Covid-19 (still ongoing), in the middle of an unprecedented economic crisis and have to pay the next 10 years the bill (in money and in-kind) for dealing with all the crises.

1. learning, playing and working becomes a continuity from birth till death  
     (a deep wish, while I´ve seen too many examples of 
       - how education has killed creativity, innovation, resilience, 
       - how people have de-learned to PLAY, 
       - how more youngsters have become individualists/narcists)
2. sustainable self-management of competences: everybody becomes
3 a continuous flow/change of work activities in which the moment of ´retirement´ becomes unimportant for learning, will be part of the continuous change
4. Prepare people (make them competent) for a smooth transition from human work/education towards cooperation between man and intelligent and collaborative machines

The policy has to change from supporting education and learning programs (supply-driven) towards programs for "communicative self-steering" in the development and applying of competences and transfer the ownership to them (demand-driven)

Bild des Benutzers Dörte Stahl
What will happen:
There will be less money available for adult education. There will be funding especially for vocational education / training for the labor market.
What would you like to happen:
Learning should be seen as an important competence (also at the political level), which serves personal and social development to the same extent. I would like to shift the focus from 'learning certain skills' to 'self-learning
And all learners should have uncomplicated opportunities to make their competencies visible.
Bild des Benutzers Maximilian Welter
Hopefully we will not return to the dominance of analogue offers. The pandemic has shown in some places what potential the digital space can offer and under which conditions digital learning spaces can simplify and support learning.
an exchange of information on the success factors of good teaching in the digital world would be an important step towards the further professionalization of digital learning opportunities.
Bild des Benutzers Giovanna Brunelli
I think in 10 years organizations will take more care in mapping hard and soft skills of their employees and collaborators, in order to deliver learning contents which on one side can increase resilience and adaptability levels of organisations themselves on the other side contribute to personal development and increased individuals wellbeing. What I wish instead is that a growing number of adults understand how important is to access to continuous learning, be aware of who they are and where they want to go (within 2 - 5 - 10 years) and autonomously build their learning path, integrating personal and professional goals.

Bild des Benutzers Balázs Bánk Németh
I think here is a negative trend in Europe that most governments have given up the idea of Educatio for All and this means that sources and resources of inclusive tools and measures are melting which would enable vulnerable groups of adult to participate in learning for jobs, for example, and thereby strengthen ther social status.  
I would like to see the EU to reconfigurate its policy on Adult Learning and support a wider spectrum of actions from basic skills development to VET, from second chance schooling to university lifelong learning and from promoting reading books both in traditional forms or through digital devices. EAEA and EPALE can do many things to campaign on this!