Development of Adult Education in Europe and in the Context of Knowles′ Study

  • 1 Senior Lecturer, Mukachevo State University, 26 Uzhgorodska St., , Mukachevo , Ukraine


The presented article touches upon the idea of adult education history in Europe. It highlights the main programmes and events, which were a great contribution to the development of lifelong learning. At ancient times, adult students considered to be the prominent audience at philosophical lectures of immortal minds. After the period of industrialization and social equality, primary and secondary education became the priority topics of governmental policies. Only after WWII there appeared a need for reviewing or upgrading the already existed knowledge, nothing to say about the late 2000s with the immigration realia and population aging, adult learning takes over the prior importance in Europe. Malcolm S. Knowles was one of the scholars who had been investigating the domain in the mid 1960s and created the theoretical background for further researches. His attitude and vision of adult education process were the predictors of a new adragogical age in Europe, where student took a new central role in the education process, was encouraged to hold responsibility for the most suitable methods, that would match up with their goals, possibilities, intentions and timing. In modern society, there exists an urgent need for changes in the approaches to teaching adults, for individual work that is more appropriate for age and ensures usage of personal experience. The maturity dimension scheme presented by M. Knowles brings understanding of adult psychological inclinations, behaviour and goals that might help an andragogue to decide on methods chosen for achieving educational results. Clear determination of notions should explain and help to avoid misunderstandings on “whom should we consider an adult?” Historical approach will help to create a complex adult education development picture and motivate a researcher for further investigations.

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