Adult education, distinct from child education, is a practice in which adults engage in systematic and sustained self-educating activities in order to gain new forms of knowledge, skills, attitudes, or values.
It can mean any form of learning adults engage in beyond traditional schooling, encompassing basic literacy to personal fulfilment as a lifelong learner and to ensure the fulfilment of an individual.
In particular, adult education reflects a specific philosophy about learning and teaching based on the assumption that adults can and want to learn, that they are able and willing to take responsibility for the learning, and that the learning itself should respond to their needs.
The learning happens in many ways and in many contexts just as all adults' lives differ
Adult learning can be in any of the three contexts, i.e.:
Formal – Structured learning that typically takes place in an education or training institution, usually with a set curriculum and carries credentials;
Non-formal – Learning that is organized by educational institutions but non credential. Non-formal learning opportunities may be provided in the workplace and through the activities of civil society organizations and groups;
Informal education – Learning that goes on all the time, resulting from daily life activities related to work, family, community or leisure