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    Adult Educators: Professionalisation, Professional Roles, Identities, and Communities

    International intergovernmental organisations and the adult education research community emphasise the importance of well-qualified personnel working in the field of adult education. However, although students nowadays can earn a university degree in adult education, mostly at the master’s level, only a small part of personnel working in adult education have studied adult education. Moreover, they come from highly diverse academic disciplines.

    The range of professionals working in the field of adult education is wide and diverse, depending on the sector and the institution for which they work. That is because adult education is linked to a country’s social structure, its socio-economic, cultural, and political traditions, low regulation of the adult education system and different understandings of adult education.

    In a knowledge-based society, adult education organisations and institutions integrated into the state, market, and third-sector contexts are becoming important actors in the development of professionalism, because these organisations offer various opportunities for education, learning, continuing professional development, and professional networking.

    By working on this topic, you will be able to:

    • understand different professional profiles of adult educators in an international context,
    • demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and competences that adult educators acquire from higher education institutions and/or adult education institutions/associations,
    • compare the professional profiles of adult educators in your country with those in other countries.

    Instruction for the Comparison @Home

    The starting point for your work on this comparative topic is the instruction for the comparison at home. Please look at the document below as a first step.

    It gives you a step-by-step introduction on how to find a good comparative research question, provides a context for comparison, and suggests possible categories for you to elaborate on.

    Materials on the Topic ‘Adult Educators: Professionalisation, Professional Roles, Identities, and Communities’

    The selected materials below give you a good starting point for a comparative analysis of this topic. The purpose of these resources is to give you an initial overview of international policies and the key dimensions related to the professionalisation of adult education and adult educators.

    Evans, L. (2010). Examining the Professionalism of Adult Educators. Scutrea.

    The author provides a conceptualisation of ‘professionalism’ and the componential structure of professionalism. The author invites professionals in adult education to break down the boundaries among different practitioners working in different fields of learning and teaching.


    Rohs, M., & Bolten, R. (2017). Professionalisation of adult educators for a digital world: A European perspective. European Journal of Education Studies.

    The paper provides good insights into the professionalisation of adult educators in Europe with a focus on the importance of digital media literacy in adult education. Readers are encouraged to reflect on the connection of adult education with digital media and its consequences for society and adult education in general. The main outcome of this reading is to learn how well adult educators are prepared for a digital world from a European perspective.


    DVV International, & DIE. (2015). Curriculum GlobALE.

    This publication introduces the Curriculum globALE, which offers a basic qualification for adult educators worldwide. By providing a benchmark that spans all continents, the Curriculum globALE aims at driving forward the professionalisation of adult education and adult educators on an international level.


    Quiz and Online Interaction

    To test your learning advance on the comparative topic of professionalisation, we prepared a quiz for you! Also, we have created a discussion board where you can get in contact with other learner who work on the topic! Please sign up to OpenWueCampus under the following link first:

    For the self enrolment, use the enrolment key "Winterschool"

    After creating your account and logging in, use the following link to access four exercises on employability and transition to the labour market for adult educators and test your knowledge:


    Team up online: In the Intall@home discussion board, you can discuss your work with other students or researchers or search for partners for a collaborative work.


    Next to OpenWueCampus, you can also join our LinkedIn professional network where you can also get in touch with other learners, professors and professionals in the field of adult education!