Master of Education in Distance Education (MDDE) 613

Adult Education and Lifelong Learning

Course cover

Delivery Mode: Group Study

Credits: 3

Prerequisite: None.

Availability: Winter Term Only

Note: MEd program students must complete Mdde601 & Mdde602 prior to all other courses
Early access to the Moodle Learning Management System begins a few days before the official start date of your course. At that time you will have limited course access.


MDDE 613: Adult Education and Lifelong Learning, is an optional course in Athabasca University's Master of Education in Distance Education Program. Adult learning has never been higher on the agenda of leading policy makers than at the beginning of the 21st century. MDDE 613: Adult Education and Lifelong Learning focuses on mapping the territory of adult learning and investigating the significance of andragogy as a unique approach to the education of adults. This course examines debates and controversies around self-directed learning, and explores current thinking on social and collective learning. Emancipatory approaches to adult education and the discourse and practices of the learning society are also addressed. Students are invited to join the ongoing conversation about the most lucid ways of thinking about adult learning and the associated implications for practice.

Course Goals

The following goals will guide your study in the course:

  1. Discuss the origins of the modern practice of adult education.
  2. Develop a personal mission statement referring to the practice of adult education.
  3. Discuss the individual and social dimensions of adult learning.
  4. Discuss the philosophy and practices of self-directed learning.
  5. Identify different approaches to emancipatory learning and make strong arguments for a particular approach.
  6. Describe the strengths and weaknesses of the learning society paradigm and public pedagogy and their potential contribution to our time.

Course Outline

The course is divided into the following units:

  • Unit 1: In Quest of a Map of the Territory
  • Unit 2: Theory Building in Adult Education: Questioning our Grasp of the Obvious
  • Unit 3: The Individual as Learner
  • Unit 4: Social and Collective Learning
  • Unit 5: Dreams of Emancipation
  • Unit 6: From Lifelong Education to the Just Learning Society

Learning Resources

All course resources are provided online.

Student Assessment

In this course, the student's final grade will be composed of the following:

Activity Credit Weight
Assignment 1 - Reflective Journal: Students will write a sustained and reflective account of their engagement with the course. 25%
Assignment 2 - Short Paper: Based on the some of the readings in the course, students will present their "map of the territory" of adult education. 15%
Assignment 3 - Application of adult education theory: Write a 2000 word paper on one of two options. 25%
Assignment 4 - Critical pedagogy and adult education: A presentation and summary paper. 20%
Conference Participation: Students are expected to participate in the course forums. 15%
Total 100%

Please note that some changes in schedules and/or specifics of assignments may be made from time to time by individual instructors.

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.