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The Adult Learning and Education (ALE) program is the oldest graduate adult education program in Canada with historical roots in traditions of social welfare, community development and extension education. ALE is concerned with the development of scholars and practitioners who will shape society in ways that promote lifelong learning for all. Our ALE program challenges students to understand the diverse contexts in which adult learning occurs and their role in these from a wide variety of theoretical, conceptual and philosophical perspectives.

The mission of the Adult Learning and Education graduate program at UBC is to contribute to the creation, elaboration, exchange and application of knowledge concerning the education and learning of adults in diverse contexts. This includes the development of scholars and reflective practitioners who will shape society and its institutions in ways that promote lifelong education and learning for all in critical ways.

What is Adult Education?

“Education is life — not a mere preparation for an unknown kind of future living. . . The whole of life is learning; therefore, education can have no ending. This new venture is called adult education — not because it is confined to adults but because adulthood, maturity defines its limits. – Lindeman, E. (1926). The Meaning of Adult Education. New York: New Republic

Who are our Students?

We welcome students from a wide variety of backgrounds and diverse sites of practice including: community development, higher education, adult basic education, ESL, social movements, business, and international development. Students bring diverse interests in how adult learning and education contributes to many areas of concern including: health education, gender and women’s learning, social activism, online learning, workplace learning, intercultural and multicultural issues, anti-oppression, program planning, adult literacy, English as an Additional Language, environmentalism, and internationalization.


Visit the Adult Learning and Education - MED page on the University of British Columbia website for more details!

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