aussie educator


Adult & Community Education

Adult & Community Education offers ‘learning courses designed for personal enrichment, skill development and professional learning’ [Tasmanian Department of Education]. These may be formal or informal, run by local communities or government agencies and cover everything from drawing to yoga, languages to dance, photography to massage, parenting to managing your finances. They cover leisure skills to life skills. Some can be used for professional purposes.

This page covers procedures and programs in each state & territory, government information, journals, publications, research, University of The Thirds Age [U3A] and other information.

It is not possible to list all providers but it should be possible to access many sources through the links below.

For a range of information, including activities and events around Australia, visit the Adult Learners’ Week website.

For related information, you should also consider information on the Vocational Education page.

States & Territories

Australian Capital Territory

New South Wales

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Northern Territory


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South Australia


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    ‘Victoria’s peak policy, industrial and development body for the Adult Community Education sector’.

Adult and Community Education Colleges in Other Areas of Victoria

  • Adult, Community and Further Education [ACFE] Board
    Overview, structure, links to AMES, CAE and Learn Local [see below], Regional Councils, more.
  • AMES
    ‘Works with new arrivals but also with the community, business and Government’.
  • Association of Neighbourhood Houses & Learning Centres
    Find a House, news, resources what’s on, media, more.
  • Centre for Adult Education
    ‘Provides learning to the Victorian community through a wide range of programs and services’.
  • Community Colleges
    Scroll down to the Victorian section for colleges linked to Community Colleges Australia. Each has a website where available plus other details.
  • Learn Local
    ‘Offer a range of education and training programs designed to meet your learning needs. There’s a government registered Learn Local in your community that can help you return to study, improve your reading, writing and maths skills, gain a qualification, get a job or learn something new’. Find a Learn Local here.
  • Learn Local Awards
    ‘Held annually to recognise the inspirational efforts of learners, practitioners and training providers in the Learn Local sector’.

Other Adult and Community Education Centres

Western Australia

  • Community Based Courses
    Department of Education Services. Information about Standards and Guidelines and Applications for Endorsement. There is a List of Community based courses available from the site.
  • Community Learning
    Department of Training & Workforce Development. Community learning, Adult and Community Education, Computer Skills, Literacy, links, more. Of value would be their Course Search.
  • Linkwest
    ‘State association for Community & Development Centres in Western Australia’. Find a Member Centre here. Use the Search Engine or the A-Z listing.
  • UWA Extension
    University of Western Australia. ‘A leading provider of lifelong learning opportunities in a diverse range of community, workplace and professional education’.

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Other Information

Australian Government

  • Adult Learners’ Week
    ‘Part of an international festival of adult learning. Adult Learners’ Week also provides an opportunity for informed discussion about the current provision of adult learning in Australia’.
  • Investing in Experience Employment Charter and Tool Kit
    ‘A one stop practical guide for employing people over 45 years of age. It provides practical help for your business or organisation to assess the demographics of your workforce, to identify and address potential skill and knowledge gaps, and to recruit and retain experienced staff’.
  • Lerni
    ‘Multilingual learning resources for emerging communities’. Introduction, Find a Course, Resources, Index, Languages. Site available in multiple languages.
  • LiteracyNet
    ‘Key information about Australian adult literacy activities and links to additional program, professional development, resource and research sites’.
  • National Foundation Skills Strategy for Adults
    ‘Governments have committed to a target that, by 2022, two thirds of working age Australians will have literacy and numeracy skills at Level 3 or above’.
  • Reading and Writing Hotline
    ‘Australia’s national telephone adult literacy and numeracy referral service’.

General Sites

  • ACAL
    [Australian Council for Adult Literacy]
    ‘Supporting literacy and numeracy education for adults’. Their Links page is worthwhile.
  • Adult Learning Australia
    News, features, publications, events, links, more.
  • Australian Neighbourhood Houses & Centres Association [ANHCA]
    ‘Represents nationally over 1 000 Neighbourhood Houses, Community Houses, Learning Centres, Neighbourhood Centres and Community Centres’.
  • AVETRA - Useful Links
    ‘Designed to help researchers find information they need. Links from both Australia and overseas’.
  • BBC - Skillswise
    Some areas are peculiar to the UK [e.g. courses, etc.]. Others could be of value. Literacy and numeracy. BBC quality.
  • Excellence Gateway [UK]
    ‘Provides thousands of examples of effective practice and support documents to help develop your knowledge and skills which are free to review and download. Material from learning and skills organisers and leading online resources also available’.
  • Free Resources [National Centre for Families Learning]
    ‘Whether you’re a parent, an educator or a volunteer, we have plenty of resources in our arsenal to help you fight illiteracy in your community’. USA.
  • Learning Communities Catalyst
    ‘Learning Communities are groups of people - in towns, around centres, or in interest groups - who work toward making lifelong learning possible for everyone’.
    Irish National Adult Literacy Agency. ‘Literacytools is for adults who would like to improve their spelling, reading and numeracy skills’.
  • Year Book Australia, 2012
    Education. Australian Bureau of Statistics.
  • New Zealand Literacy Portal
    ‘Designed to provide a knowledge base of adult literacy information contributed by both New Zealand and international organisations’.

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Reports & Research


  • New ! A new social capital paradigm for adult literacy : Partnerships, policy and pedagogy
    2009; Jo Balatti, Stephen Black, Ian Falk. ‘The primary purpose of this project is to produce a set of guidelines on how to deliver adult literacy and numeracy education and training using a social capital approach’.
  • New ! Don’t subtract numeracy
    2014, David Tout. ‘The development of adults’ core skills for work and life requires attention to language and literacy, but numeracy counts as well’.
  • New ! Human capital development : reforms for adult and community education
    2007; Sarojni C. Choy, Sandra Haukka. ‘Briefly describes the ACE sector and its current provisions, and proposes ways in which it could make a greater contribution to the human capital stream of the National Reform Agenda’.
  • New ! Learning and leadership : Evaluation of an Australian rural leadership program
    2014; Wendy Madsen, Cathy O’Mullan, Helen Keen-Dyer. ‘Results of the evaluation of a rural leadership program provided in this paper highlight the need for adult learning theories to be more overtly identified and utilised as the basis of planning and implementing leadership programs’.
  • New ! National foundation skills strategy for adults
    2012; COAG ‘Australian governments have worked in partnership to develop the National Strategy, a 10 year strategy built around a shared vision for a productive and inclusive Australia’.
  • New ! Productivity Of Social Inclusion
    2011, Jillian Marchant, AARE. ‘Through a review of literature for a study involving adult rural students, suggestions are made, which discover the boundaries experienced by adult rural students in their communities’.
  • New ! Putting transformative learning theory into practice
    2015; Michael Christie, Michael Carey, Ann Robertson, Peter Grainger. ‘Our paper exemplifies how Mezirow’s theory can help adult educators and prospective school teachers understand that social structures and belief systems can influence student learning’.
  • Updated ! Reskilling for Encore Careers
    2012; Jane Figgis, NCVER. ‘Describes the encore career concept and why it might be an attractive alternative to retirement or to continuing in the same job past the traditional age of retirement’.
  • Updated ! Rethinking Community-based Learning
    2014; Adult Learning Australia. ‘The focus of this paper is on the informal and non-formal learning that occurs in and through community-based organisations.’.
  • New ! The quest for authenticity : A study of an online discussion forum and the needs of adult learn
    2015, Jenny McDougall. ‘his study concludes that elements of an “authentic discussion” can be achieved in an online environment and this objective has a particular salience in the context of adult learning. ’.
  • New ! The use of peer assessment in a regional Australian university tertiary bridging course
    2014; Kelly Chambers, Robert Whannell, Patricia Whannell. ‘Presents the findings from research on peer assessment practice that was specifically focussed on improving the student experience in a tertiary bridging course’.
  • Updated ! Using Grass Roots Community Programs as an Anti-Extremism Strategy
    2013; Robyn Broadbent. ‘Discusses the results of the evaluation of a multicultural leadership program that was delivered using an adult learning framework in which 16 young people attended and how such programs can continue to build the capacity of communities to build scaffolds of support that ensure the inclusion of young people and not their marginalisation’.


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Universities of The Third Age

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