What is the meaning of Adult Education? This is a question that I, too, have often asked myself as the question is many faceted and represents not a singular question but many. In what is one of the earliest works on the subject, Lindeman sets out to address these questions from the perspectives of the many stakeholders within the field. Lindeman, along the lines of Dewey, and much later Freire, contents that the education system is primarily designed to prepare its students for life [ which in the time of its writing, in 1926, probably meant the workforce of that era]. To Lindeman, graduates of the education system enter into a vicious cycle that regenerates itself: soon after graduation the concept of learning is forgotten once they have a job… thus indicating that the purpose of their learning is complete.
Lindeman believes that Adult Education will help break this cycle. He holds that the current assumption that the more who are educated translates into more learning is hollow as the “cycle” of the system will take over. Significantly, those who obtain employment in the manufacturing sector as operators of machines will have little time or need for additional learning and that those who obtain specialized education, within the professions, will have a focalized view and not one of broader development. A concern also echoed by Dewey as “non-educative”, however with adult education the mould will be broken and the path to “learning is life” will begin. But in order to do this, Lindeman contends that Adult education must be situation oriented and not subject oriented, also the learner’s experience must be valued and inclusive in the education process, a view echoed by Knowles.