The Nonformal Adult Education Micro Group Defined

 The Nonformal Adult Education Micro Group

“In the US, over 30 million adults do not have a high school diploma and 20% of US adults with a high school diploma have only beginning literacy skills. The US ranked 21st in numeracy and 16th in literacy out of 24 countries in a recent assessment of adults' skills. Two-thirds of U.S. adults scored at the two lowest levels of proficiency in solving problems in technology-rich environments. Yet, the publicly funded adult education system is able to serve only slightly over 2 million young and older adults per year. There are waiting lists for classes in all 50 states. Current funding cannot begin to meet the need.”

Due in large part to technology, many adults are now able to learn on their own and/or attend classes in a nonformal setting where there are no strict attendance requirements, guidelines and tests, and other elements that define “formal” federal, state, or similarly funded programs. These classes are usually offered in community centers, churches, libraries, or in any place where people can gather. They are more community centered and tend to be more flexible and “student friendly” than formal classes.

This micro-group, intended for nonformal educators,  supports those who provide services to adult learners, including immigrants and low-income populations, through nonformal programs, including those being served in isolated rural areas.

Vision: Participants in this micro group will become part of an active network, where they will exchange ideas, best practices, resources, especially distance learning resources, to improve the quality and delivery of instruction to learners served by nonformal service providers, including those in isolated rural populations..

Definitions - As defined in this group, the following terms apply:

  • Formal Education - education that takes place in programs or institutions where funding guidelines dictate requirements to be met by students, such as expected progress, scores, certification or degree completion.
  • Nonformal (without a hyphen) - education that is planned and delivered through community-based or similar organizations in a variety of settings, which do not impose formal expectations (grading, progress requirements, certification, credit) on learners. Nonformal instruction is designed to specifically adhere to the needs of students without regard to formal expectations.
  • Informal Education - education that occurs through the experiences of daily living without specific, planned instruction