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Athabasca University


MDDE 613: Adult Education and Lifelong Learning

Delivery mode: Online course using Moodle

Credits: 3 - Elective

Prerequisites: MDDE 601, MDDE 602 for MEd program students only

Instructor: TBA



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. Develope 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

Course Materials

All course resources are provided online.

Student Assessment

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

Assignment 1 - Reflective Journal: Students will write a sustained and reflective account of their engagement with the course.


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.


Assignment 3 - Application of adult education theory: Write a 2000 word paper on one of two options.


Assignment 4 - Critical pedagogy and adult education: A presentation and summary paper.


Conference Participation: Students are expected to participate in the course forums.



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


Get Started Early

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 access to the course. On the Official Start Date of the course, instructors will be available and the discussion forums will become active.


Last updated by MM June 12, 2017

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