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COVID-19 and the Future of Adult Education: An Editorial

We live in unprecedented times. COVID-19 has shutdown large sectors of the economy, as well as entire education systems. Estimates from UNESCO1 show that around 90% of the world’s students are currently out of school. Like many of you, we are working from home, drafting this editorial from our home offices under shelter-in-place orders. Around the world, university campuses are closed and lecture halls stand eerily empty. Teaching and learning has moved primarily online, and the use of remote video conferencing has become commonplace. These changes have also affected adult education programing, much of which relies on face-to-face activities. The Adult Education in Global Times conference planned for June in Vancouver, British Columbia, was cancelled, along with other important professional events across the world. Although we cannot predict the future, we can reflect on how this situation might play out for adult learners. In doing so, we discuss some of our concerns and explore what we see as potentially interesting developments. We reflect on how COVID-19 might affect not only policy and practice but also research agendas for years to come.

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Ellen Boeren, Elizabeth A. Roumell, Kevin M. Roessger
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