Chapter 1

The Social Context of Adult Learning

  1. Learning is never isolated from the environment that surrounds you
  2. The nature of society at any particular point in time determines the relative emphasis placed on adult learning
  3. The phenomenon of “Life Long Learning” is the issue of increased and diversified demand on learning and how to manage this explosion of knowledge. (example – STEM skills)
  4. When there is an increase in an item, society is then pushed into adapting and learning how to incorporate these into their daily lives. Jobs and schools are faced with training to adapt to newer trends. (example – the digital boom or Ford’s industrial age that started the assembly line back in the 1920s, p.6)
  5. There are 3 characteristics of our present culture that are changing the way adults learn:
    1. Changing demographics
    2. The globalization and economy status
    3. Information technology

Changing demographics:

  1. It shapes the provision of learning in our contemporary society
  2. It’s about people, groups and their cultures/characteristics/ethnic diversity
  3. Learning activities can be learner initiated or society initiated (example “Baby Boomers”p.8-9)
  4. Higher number in drop-out rates have forced companies to contact colleges to train their students with certain skills before they graduate in order to cope with the lack of young educated students. This has also created a domino effect in pay rates.
  5. Increased amount of immigrants from Asia and Latin America have created a need for awareness in multicultural sensitivity seen in schools, jobs and government regulations.


  1. It’s the increased integration of economics around the world using technologies and trade of finances. “A movement of economic integration, of cultural homogenization and technological uniformization.” P.11
  2. Loss of wages to third world countries
  3. Companies outsources their services to the lowest international bidder (China, India)
  4. Information technology boundaries are disappearing
  5. Review and write down the 4 Cs and their definition on p. 12

A. Connection

B. Cosmopolitanism

C. Communication

D. Commodification

Global economics has led to changing work practices which require constant changing and upgrading in their preparation and training. This has resulted in higher workloads with less pay and more responsibility.


  1. Mayor changes to society have been initiated since the implementation of the digital world in our daily lives. Jobs, education, personal life and relationships all have been impacted by information overload.
  2. Laser technologies have revolutionized the dissemination of information, storage and retrieval. (Internet, coaxial cables and wireless services)
  3. In the industrial society, machines extended physical ability and in the information society it extends mental ability.
  4. Social structures have changed from hierarchies to multi-centered and horizontal networks.

Figure 1

Figure 1.1 Examples of this structure can be seen within insurance companies, IT Help desk, customer service providers, call center support, etc Click on the image to enlarge it.

5. Unlimited access to information which creates a need of learning higher thinking skill.

Summary – p 25

Demographics, globalization and technology are the three forces affecting society’s endeavor’s, including adult learning. Adults in population outnumber youth and they are also better educated. There is now more cultural diversity and acceptance of such cultures. Globalization links entire countries through economy, consumerism and technology. Technology in itself has caused a mayor shift in our daily life trends, such as jobs, schooling and cultural customs in the US. Adult learning and education both reflect and respond to the forces of change within our society.

Taking it to the Word

This part is where you research scriptures to make comparisons on how the church should respond to these changes. Please write down the information and cite your references below for the following aspects:

Changes in demographics

Changes due to globalization

Influences due to informational technology

Write a conclusion to the three concepts you have analyzed based on the influence the church can have in adult education and learning.


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