Adult Education under Pandemic Conditions: Challenges & Perspectives

Across the world, the pandemic has transformed adult education. After over a year, some governments are looking at a falling number of infections, and starting to relax restrictions; elsewhere, the situation is deteriorating. It seems as good time as any to take stock of the pandemic’s impact and the sector’s response, and this Call for Papers is therefore highly timely:

The Coronavirus pandemic has disrupted all aspects of life, including lifelong learning and adult education. It has had a profound impact on the formats, demand, and opportunities for adult education. Most notably, there has been an increase in digital formats and online learning, whereas many forms of in-person instruction were postponed, canceled, or reduced in scope. On the supply side, the pandemic has shaped the conditions under which providers can operate and offer instruction. Regarding participants, demand for adult education has increased in some areas because changes in working and living conditions triggered by the pandemic require new skills and decreased in others due to fear of infection.

As all great disruptions, the pandemic also offers potential for creative innovation and long-term change. Now that the pandemic is in its second year, it is possible to both review the impact the pandemic has had so far as well as take a first outlook at prospective ways in which the past year will transform adult education in the future.

The editors invite submissions that discuss the impact the pandemic has had on adult education, broadly defined. Topics might include but are not limited to changes in instruction and participation, the impact the pandemic has had on educators, learners and institutions, increased digitalization and associated challenges, social inequality and vulnerable groups, and changing demand and supply for specific subfields or subgroups.

The Call is from the leading German journal for adult & further education research, the Zeitschrift für Weiterbildungsforschung. The journal is refereed, publishes open access contributions in English and German, and is issued by the prestigious Deutsches Institut für Erwachsenenbildung. The CfP will soon appear on the journal’s website, but in the meantime you can send queries to Dr. Kerstin Hoenig of the DIE at:

Reading in Lockdown 2.0: The fourth month

26 March – 25 April

I seem to have read more than usual this month, though I’ve no idea why. However, I’ve not yet finished Jill Lepore’s excellent survey of America’s past (it’s long, unsurprisingly).


Shalom Auslander, Hope: A tragedy

Yousra Imran, Hijab and Red Lipstick

Krischan Koch, Mordseekrabben

Deborah Massan, Out for Blood

Peter Robinson, Not Dark Yet

Theodore Storm, The Rider on the White Horse

Dagmar Maria Toschka, Alte Anker rosten nicht


Roy Foster, On Seamus Heaney

Jill Lepore, These Truths: A history of the United States

Worlds apart: Education and Britain’s inequality problem

All in this together? The COVID-19 pandemic is still with us, and seems likely to be a part of our lives, in some form, for some time to come. It has…

Worlds apart: Education and Britain’s inequality problem

Reading in lockdown 2.0

26 February – 25 March


Edna O’Brien, Girl

Klaus-Peter Wolf, Ostfriesenzorn

Lucy Foley, The Hunting Party

Daniel Kehlmann, Tyll

Ella Danz, Osterfeuer


Jill Lepore, These Truths: A history of the United States

Rob White, BFI Film Classics: The Third Man

A digital citizenship agenda for educators

“Greater digital literacy is often the recommendation for dealing with the effects of social media within society, but this ignores the fact that …

A digital citizenship agenda for educators

“He didn’t believe in adult education” – Saul Bellow’s Ravelstein

Saul Bellow was well into his 80s when he published Ravelstein, a portrait of a brilliant, opinionated, knowledgeable and influential philosopher – generally thought to have been modelled on Bellow’s friend, the classicist, philosopher, and conservative cultural critic Allan Bloom.

I took an instant and deep dislike to the novel’s central character, not so much for his opinions as for what I saw as his bumptious, show-off, intolerant, judgemental, controlling personality. I also recognise the book’s achievement as a complex exploration of love, friendship, learning, consumption and Jewishness, but I didn’t much enjoy it.

Bellow portrays Ravelstein’s character through the eyes of the narrator, an old friend of the philosopher. The narrator is not a philosopher, and he reflects on his lack of understanding as Ravelstein lies in the final stages of his illness: “I was too old to be a pupil, and Ravelstein didn’t believe in adult education. It was far too late for me to Platonize”.

Make of that what you will. Maybe Bellow is alluding to one of Allan Bloom’s deeply held prejudices, in this case against adult learners. Or perhaps Bellow was simply inserting another example of his hero’s fixed opinions, in a further development – if you can call it that – of the Ravelstein character.

Learning, earning and the death of human capital.

Is there a clear predictive relationship between the amount of education ‘received’, as measured by qualifications achieved, and future earnings? The…

Learning, earning and the death of human capital.

Reading in Lockdown 2.0: the second month

26 January – 25 February


Saul Bellow, Ravelstein

Hannelore Cayre, The Godmother

Stefan Keller, Kölner Totenkarneval

Francis Spufford, Golden Hill


Nick Mansfield, Soldiers as Citizens: Popular politics and the nineteenth century British military

Reading in lockdown 2.0 – the first month

26 December – 25 January


Roy Jacobsen, The Unseen

Frances Cha, If I Had Your Face

Krischan Koch, Rote Grutze mit Schuss

Lucy Atkins, Magpie Lane


Martyn Bennett, Oliver Cromwell

Williamson’s White Paper: ‘Skills Without Jobs’?

The much-awaited White Paper skills-for-jobs-lifelong-learning-for-opportunity-and-growthDownload has been published this week. It’s a long and …

Williamson’s White Paper: ‘Skills Without Jobs’?