Education is – if we have any recollection of our classical language training – supposed to be a drawing out rather than a putting in, which would seem to make it at least as an appropriate activity for adults as for children. However, adults far too often find their attempts to gain further education blocked by pragmatics: They have to be at work or driving their own children back and forth at the same time that classes are being offered. Because of the constraints on their time and their obligations to work and family, adults can benefit from distance learning in important ways. My own experience as a distance learner has borne this out.
Adults have their far greater basis of experience than do children and so are in many ways much more easily educated. Education is, after all, not simply the acquisition of facts but their synthesis as well, the creative and unique ways of putting together information about the world that those with experience in the world can achieve (Cross, 1992, p. 41).
It is because of this that education may well be – as it is often humorously argued – wasted on the young, not because of any inherent fault of their own but because their range of experience is so narrow that it is difficult for them to make the best use of the facts that they are given.
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