Education (EDUC) 309

The Purposes of Adult Education (Revision 1)

EDUC 309 course cover

Revision 1 is closed for registrations, replaced by current version

Delivery Mode: Individualized study or grouped study

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Reading course - Social Science

Prerequisite: None

Precluded Course: EDUC 401. EDUC 309 may not be taken for credit if credit has already been obtained for EDUC 401.

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

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EDUC 309 is not available for challenge.

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Education 309: The Purposes of Adult Education is designed to introduce the purposes and foundations of adult education. The course provides an overview of adult education theory and practice, but it is not intended as a comprehensive examination of all areas of adult education. It will, however, give you tools for examining other areas of adult education and related fields of study. The course focuses on Canadian and North American adult education, but also considers global perspectives and experience. As you work through the course, you will learn to relate your knowledge and experience to the knowledge base of the course. We encourage you to initiate your own reading on the issues discussed and to select topics that interest you for further reading and research. Please note that the course is designed as a directed reading course, and commentary in this guide is at a minimum. You are however encouraged to contact your tutor on a regular basis and take advantage of any online enhancements the course, the educational studies program, and the university provide.


EDUC 309 consists of five units listed below.

Unit 1: Education for Adults

Unit 2: Education for Economy

Unit 3: Education for Transformation

Unit 4: Education for Diversity

Unit 5: Education for the Twenty-first Century


To receive credit for EDUC 309, you must complete all of the assignments, and achieve at least fifty per cent on each one. The weighting of the course assignments is as follows:

Tutor-marked Exercise 1 Tutor-marked Exercise 2 Tutor-marked Exercise 3 Tutor-marked Exercise 4 Total
25% 20% 20% 30% *95%

*An additional five per cent of the final grade is based on your participation in the course. You can earn this five per cent by contacting your tutor on a regular basis (e.g., after completing each unit), and discussing the issues raised by the course with her or him.

To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Course Materials


Fenwick, T., Nesbit, T., & Spencer, B. (Eds.) (2006). Contexts of adult education: Canadian perspectives. Toronto: Thompson.

Lotz, J. & Welton, M. (1997). Father Jimmy: The life and times of Jimmy Tompkins. Wreck Cove, NS: Breton Books.

Scott, S., Spencer, B. & Thomas, A. (Eds.) (1998). Learning for life: Canadian readings in adult education. Toronto: Thompson Educational Publishing.

Spencer, B. (2006). The purposes of adult education: A short introduction. Toronto: Thompson Educational Publishing.

Other Materials

Athabasca University. (1988). Perspectives on adult education: Interviews with Malcolm Knowles, Allen Tough, Patricia Cross and Roger Boshier. Athabasca, AB: Athabasca University.

The course materials also include a student manual, and a study guide.

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 1, May 23, 2008.