EDF5661 - Designing learning for adults - 2019

12 points, SCA Band 1, 0.250 EFTSL

Postgraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.



Chief examiner(s)

Peter Waterhouse


Peter Waterhouse

Unit guides



  • First semester 2019 (Flexible)




This unit addresses approaches taken to adult learning in formal and informal learning settings such as workplaces, communities, tertiary and vocational sectors. The unit is designed to respond to the needs and interests of those who manage, deliver or administer learning in these spaces. It addresses theories, principles and practices that inform the education of adults. The unit is designed in three parts. In the first, students explore the theories and concepts that are represented in the literature around adult education. In the second, contemporary policy and economic trends and contexts around lifelong learning and participation are addressed, with a view to identifying global trends and local practices that result. In the third part, the unit focuses on practice and the application of an approach to designing learning activities for adults.


Upon successful completion of this unit students should be able to:

  1. understand main schools of thought in adult education
  2. critically review theories and concepts related to adult learning
  3. explore the interplay of theory and practice in adult education
  4. examine and evaluate current issues in adult and lifelong learning
  5. review approaches to designing interactive learning for adults
  6. design a learning session for adults to exemplify a particular theoretical and practical orientation.


Critical review (3200 words equivalent, 40%)

Essay (3200 words equivalent, 40%)

Weekly reading and consolidated reflection (1600 words, 20%)

Workload requirements

Flexible mode offers a stand-alone online offering that allows students to learn and engage in content and assessment in a supported way. It also provides a face-to-face component of 12 hours over the semester to engage students with the online learning content, which students can attend if they are able and interested.

Minimum total expected workload equals 288 hours per semester comprising:

  1. Contact hours for flexible students:
    • 12 contact hours and 24 hours equivalent of online activities over the semester or
    • 36 hours equivalent of online activities over the semester
  2. Additional requirements (all students):
    • independent study to meet the minimum required hours per semester

See also Unit timetable information

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study

Recommended for Master of Education in:

Adult learning

Option for Master of Education in:

Digital learning

Educational leadership and policy

General education studies

Elective of Master of Teaching in:

Early years education

Primary education

Secondary education