Continuing education

Continuing education

Continuing education (called further education in the United Kingdom and Ireland) is an all-encompassing term within a broad spectrum of post-secondary learning activities and programs. The term is used mainly in the United States and Canada. Recognized forms of post-secondary learning activities within the domain include: degree credit courses by non-traditional students, non-degree career training, workforce training, formal personal enrichment courses (both on-campus and online) self-directed learning (such as through Internet interest groups, clubs or personal research activities) and experiential learning as applied to problem solving.


General continuing education

General continuing education is similar to adult education, at least in being intended for adult learners, especially those beyond traditional undergraduate college or university age. However, it is not normally considered to include basic instruction such as literacy, English language skills, or programs such as vocational training or GED preparation. Instead, as the term suggests, it is assumed that the student already has an education and is simply continuing it.

Frequently, in the United States, continuing education involves enrollment in college/university credit-granting courses, often by students enrolled part-time, and often offered through a division or school of continuing education of a college/university known sometimes as the university extension or extension school. Also frequently in the US, it can mean enrollment in non-credit-granting courses, often taken for personal, non-vocational enrichment (although many non-credit courses can also have a vocational function). Also, in the US, many such non-credit courses are offered by community colleges.

The University of Wisconsin–Madison, in 1907, was the first academic institution in the US to offer what today would be considered an identifiable continuing education program.[1][2] In 1969, Empire State College, a unit of the State University of New York, was the first institution in the US to exclusively focus on providing higher education to adult learners. In 1976 the University of Florida created its own Division of Continuing Education and most courses were offered on evenings or weekends to accommodate the schedules of working students.[3]

In the spring of 2009, Eduventures, a higher education consulting firm, released the results of a study that illustrated that the recession had made a significant impact on the views of prospective continuing education students. A survey of 1,500 adults who planned to enroll in a course or program within the next two years determined that while nearly half of respondents believed that the value of education had risen due to the recession, over two-thirds said the state of the economy had affected their plans to pursue continuing education. [4]

Continuing education for professionals

Within the domain of Continuing Education, professional continuing education is a specific learning activity generally characterized by the issuance of a certificate or continuing education units (CEU) for the purpose of documenting attendance at a designated seminar or course of instruction. Licensing bodies in a number of fields impose continuing education requirements on members who hold licenses to practice within a particular profession. These requirements are intended to encourage professionals to expand their knowledge base and stay up-to-date on new developments. Depending on the field, these requirements may be satisfied through college or university coursework, extension courses or conferences and seminars attendance. Although individual professions may have different standards, the most widely accepted standard, developed by the International Association for Continuing Education & Training, is that ten contact hours equals one Continuing Education Unit.[5] Not all professionals use the CEU convention. For example, the American Psychological Association accredits sponsors of continuing education such as and uses simply a CE approach. In contrast to the CEU, the CE credit is typically one CE credit for each hour of contact.

Method and format of continuing education

The method of delivery of continuing education can include traditional types of classroom lectures and laboratories. However, much continuing education makes heavy use of distance learning, which not only includes independent study, but which can include videotaped/CD-ROM material, broadcast programming or Online Education which has more recently dominate the distance learning community. Many universities such as Southern New Hampshire University, have begun to offer hybrid courses; where adult learners have the option of in-classroom learning, as well as taking online courses[6] . Online courses have brought the possibility of obtaining an affordable college education, to many of those of whom it was previously out of reach.

In addition to independent study, the use of conference-type group study, which can include study networks (which can, in many instances, meet together online) as well as different types of seminars/workshops, can be used to facilitate learning. A combination of traditional, distance, and conference-type study, or two of these three types, may be used for a particular continuing education course or program.

See also


  1. ^ Schugurensky, Daniel. "1907: The 'Wisconsin Idea' Brings the University to the Community". History of Education: Selected Moments of the 20th Century. The Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto. Retrieved 2009-03-01. 
  2. ^ UW–Extension Chancellor's Office. "Highlight History of Extension in Wisconsin 1862 to 1999". About Us. The University of Wisconsin–Extension. Retrieved 2009-03-01. [dead link]
  3. ^ UF Division of Continuing Education
  4. ^].The Chronicle of Higher Education, April 2, 2009
  5. ^ "The IACET Standard: Continuing Education Units (CEUs)". International Association for Continuing Education and Training. Retrieved 2008-11-13. 
  6. ^ "Adult Learners". Continuing Education. Southern New Hampshire University. Retrieved 2011. 

Further reading

External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • continuing education — n. a program of classes for adult students offered by a college, university, etc. on a part time basis, as for updating knowledge and skills in a professional field such as medicine * * * (AmE also continued education) n [U] education at any time …   Universalium

  • continuing education — n. a program of classes for adult students offered by a college, university, etc. on a part time basis, as for updating knowledge and skills in a professional field such as medicine …   English World dictionary

  • continuing education — noun a program of instruction designed primarily for adult students who participate part time • Hypernyms: ↑education, ↑instruction, ↑teaching, ↑pedagogy, ↑didactics, ↑educational activity * * * noun [noncount] : classes taken by adult students… …   Useful english dictionary

  • continuing education — N UNCOUNT Continuing education is education for adults in a variety of subjects, most of which are practical, not academic. But those lacking a family tradition of continuing education still face difficulties …   English dictionary

  • continuing education — tęstinis švietimas statusas T sritis švietimas apibrėžtis Švietimo institucijų ir ne švietimo įstaigų ugdomoji veikla, skirta asmenims, baigusiems formaliojo švietimo įstaigą, pradėjusiems dirbti ir norintiems tobulintis ar persikvalifikuoti, kad …   Enciklopedinis edukologijos žodynas

  • continuing education — tęstinis mokymas statusas T sritis informatika apibrėžtis Bet kuri lavinimo ir mokymo forma, skirta tiems, kurie nebaigė mokytis formalioje švietimo sistemoje. Tęstinis mokymas dažniausiai siejamas su ↑nuotolinėmis studijomis. atitikmenys: angl.… …   Enciklopedinis kompiuterijos žodynas

  • Continuing Education in Anaesthesia, Critical Care & Pain —   Discipline Anaesthesia Language …   Wikipedia

  • Continuing Education Students' Association of Ryerson — (CESAR) is a membership driven student union that represents approximately 24,000 students registered in continuing education, distance education, off campus and part time courses at Ryerson University each year …   Wikipedia

  • Continuing education unit — A Continuing Education Unit (CEU) is a measure used in continuing education programs, particularly those required in a licensed profession in order for the professional to maintain the license. Examples of people who need CEUs include interior… …   Wikipedia

  • continuing education — /kənˌtɪnjuɪŋ ɛdʒəˈkeɪʃən/ (say kuhn.tinyoohing ejuh kayshuhn) noun education, usually part time, for persons beyond the school leaving age; further education; adult education …  

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