Course Title: Contexts of Adult Learning

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Contexts of Adult Learning

Credit Points: 12

Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


360H Education


Sem 1 2006,
Sem 1 2007,
Sem 1 2014,
Sem 1 2015,
Sem 1 2016


City Campus


360H Education

Face-to-Face or Internet

Sem 1 2012

Course Coordinator: Peter Rushbrook

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 7854

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: Bundoora, Building 220

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities


Course Description

This course examines the major social, organisational, policy and cultural contexts that influence adult, vocational and community education and training. There is an emphasis on recent reviews and reforms of the Vocational Education (VE) system and the implications of these changes on adult education practice. You will investigate the similarities and differences in the contexts of adult education across Australian sectors and through comparisons with international VE approaches. Issues involved in catering for a diverse range of learners in VE are also explored including strategies to promote equity of access for all potential students; working in cross-cultural teams; and devising training for learners in international settings.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development


Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • synthesise and critique the major local, national and international factors that influence adult, workplace and community education and training in Australia
  • critically analyse the contexts in which adult and community education and training are to be found in Australia
  • Compare and contrast the contexts of adult education across a range of settings, including international settings
  • discuss the roles of key government and industry bodies which regulate, inform, guide and support the work of adult educators
  • evaluate the impact of different education and training contexts on the choice of teaching/learning strategies
  • identify and argue access and equity issues over a range of adult education and training contexts
  • Critically reflect on and engage in professional discussion on contemporary debates or issues

Your learning in this course is focussed on the development of the following program learning outcomes:

  • Analyse professional practice in a range of educational, commercial and community settings with a view to applying strategies for improvement
  • Synthesize, interpret and integrate, at a high level, knowledge and information derived from multiple sources and perspectives, and apply this knowledge in creative problem solving
  • Work ethically as a creative professional in social, political, cultural and economic contexts in your chosen area
  • Critically reflect and evaluate on experiences of personal and professional practices to demonstrate autonomy, good judgment and an orientation towards life-long learning

Overview of Learning Activities

You will engage in a combination of workshops and other learning activities, which may include presentations, case studies, videos, online activities, and student led discussions. The course may be delivered fully online. The focus for workshops will be negotiated with the learner group but will incorporate aspects of: Approaches to teaching adults, including skills practice; Planning programs and designing tasks for adult learners; and evaluating the effectiveness of education and training.

Overview of Learning Resources

There are no compulsory texts for this course. RMIT will provide you with resources and tools for learning in this course through our online systems.

Overview of Assessment

You will be assessed on how well you meet the course’s learning outcomes and on your development against the relevant program capabilities. Assessment may include an evaluation of a training session, case studies, report, essay writing. Learning or training needs analysis, teaching and learning journal or a negotiated alternative task. Feedback will be given on all assessment tasks.

If you have a long term medical condition and/or disability it may be possible to negotiate to vary aspects of the learning or assessment methods. You can contact the program coordinator or the Disability Liaison Unit if you would like to find out more.

Your course assessment conforms to RMIT assessment principles, regulations, policies, procedures and instructions which are available for review online: