Trends and Projections


People have probably always been interested in the future--in wanting to understand it, control it, predict it, and even invent it. However, projecting into the future can be risky, scary, and perhaps even impossible. The purpose of this chapter is to extrapolate from much of the information presented in the previous chapters some trends apparent in society and, more specifically, several trends of an educational nature. Such information should be useful in helping interested readers think and plan ahead for their own personal and professional activities.

Future Projecting

Those individuals who spend a good deal of their time predicting or projecting into the future usually use one of two methods. One method is to examine the present, determine some trends, and project those trends into the future in conjunction with various expectations related to population change, environmental factors, and analyses of human behavior. The second method is to simulate a future date in time, carry out some future-inventing activities, and then determine what type of activities or changes would be necessary to achieve that simulated or invented future.

There are strengths and weaknesses to either method. Projecting from trends is usually a very logical activity and a certain amount of reliability is built into the process. However, slight changes in behavior at the individual or societal level can alter trends significantly in only a few years. The activities surrounding 9/11/01 in the United States certainly triggered many activities never or little thought about before that date. At the same time, inventing the future and finding ways to get there usually is an exciting process. Unfortunately, problems arise when all the many changes required to alter an existing trend or to start some new trend are attempted. Indeed, some individuals contend that the future cannot be invented and that we must learn to live with changes as they occur.

Responding to change and creating change are both possible in my estimation. The "Toffler" impact related to the future shock theme of the 1970s in many ways painted a rather gloomy and pessimistic view of the future (see this chapter's bibliography). However, just knowing about the possibilities of an undesirable future could be the very impetus needed to cause those changes in people necessary for adjusting to rapid social change. If you reflect back over the past three decades, you can see that many of the projections Toffler and others made came true, while others did not. It is suggested that what is needed is a constant study of the future as a means of having the best information for planning.

Predicting the future of adult and continuing education has been attempted fairly rigorously in the past. Policy centers, think tank projects, and futures workshops or retreats have been facilitated by various people to gather data by using one or more of the futures invention methodologies and, ultimately, to derive policy or programming suggestions. The Brockett sourcebook (see the Hiemstra citation at the end of this chapter) provides some insight into some of these efforts. Additional efforts will continue in the future as we attempt to find ways of creating responsive and effective adult learning activities.

Societal Trends

Before the future can be invented or even before some projections regarding the future can be made, it is important to understand ourselves, the society in which we exist, and the environment that surrounds us. Subsequently, this section outlines two major trends affecting American society, suggests some implications for education, and summarizes several other trends.

The Increase of Leisure

There are many societal indications that time for leisure in the United States is increasing. Longer vacation periods, shorter work weeks, early retirements, and longer lives are some of the indicators. The economic downtrend in the opening of the 21st Century is impacting these indicators, but it is not yet clear in what ways. In reality, the notion of increased leisure, if in fact it is actually taking place, will have long-ranging implications for the field of adult education in the form of increasing time for learning.

For example, the general affluence of many people in the United States permits the pursuit of recreational activity to a degree that would have been economically impossible only a few years ago. It is not unusual to see people retire at 55 or even earlier and then attend elderhostels, travel the country in a motorhome, or pursue educational degrees. At the same time, many other people have found that inflation, various forms of injustice, and the pressures of living in a time of rapid social change have forced their utilization of leisure time to take on an extra job, to carry out some necessary or desired community service, or to simply come to better grips with their own lives.

Nor do we understand very well what happens to people when they use their leisure in various ways. The person who spends three weeks out of the year hurrying in the family camper to visit more places than last year may be contributing to the very pressures that cause the need for the vacation; The person who spends hundreds of hours each year glued to a television set watching athletes bump, crash, and grind across the screen or watching hundreds of violent deaths in all sorts of ways may be developing into a valueless individual who expects that much of life is something they are owed by others. Not enough is known about what has been dubbed by some as the leisure society and considerably more study will be required before all the ramifications can be determined.

The Changing Family Setting

Although the changing family setting was discussed in considerable detail in Chapter 2, some of the significant changes need to be accented here. For example, family units are becoming smaller. Fewer children, childless marriages, and single parent families are common throughout the United States. In addition, divorces, separations, remarriages and multiple family experiments seem to be continuously on the increase. Family members are also assuming new roles.

The implications from several of these changes have been or will be experienced by most of us. What long-range effects such changes will have on society are not known nor can they be easily predicted. Some authorities even wonder if the family as a basic institutional setting in which most people begin their lives will survive much longer. This area, too, is in need of constant study and the various changes that do evolve will affect tomorrow's educator in many ways.

Additional Trends

There are many additional trends that perhaps deserve special attention. The continual increase in technology, the WWW, and wireless communication, a growing awareness of resource limitations or shortages, the growing gap between the rich and the poor, the constancy of new knowledge, the growth toward a service-oriented society, a continuation of violent conflicts throughout the world, the increasing mobility of people, the increase of crime throughout the country, and the growth of mental illness related problems are only a few of those that can be mentioned. In addition, within adult education circles there seems to be an increasing interest in post modernity and what that means for the future of society and lifelong learning (Edwards & Usher, 2001; Hake, 1999). The interested reader can utilize several of the other sources cited at the end of the chapter for further study. Each trend that you can verbalize will no doubt have numerous implications for adult education. Figure 8.1 suggests the most likely societal and other trends or forces that will impact those involved with the education and training of adults in various ways.

Technological Changes

1. Continued development of cheaper, faster, and larger memory capacity personal computers.

2. Faster, cheaper communication.

3. Interactive video with conversation and two-way video capability will change everything we do.

4. Continued increased storage, such as CD-Rom storage, including CD-Rom and DVD write-to capabilities.

5. Optical scanning enhancements (easier, faster, etc.).

6. Robotics of various types.

7. Increasing importance placed on technical and computer competencies for everyone.

8. Increasing distance education opportunities via computers and the WWW (including wireless connections).

9. Increasing acceptance of distance education in various forms.

Organizational Changes

1. Increasingly leaner, meaner organizational structures.

2. Continuously growing demand for increased productivity.

3. Increasing numbers of service organizations and industries.

4. Increased industrial sophistication forced by international competition.

5. Worldwide collaboration/ownership of industries/organizations.








Economic/Political Changes

1. Growing scarcity of resources.

2. Increasing cost of college resulting in fewer college educated workforce entrants.

3. Increased travel costs.

4. Continued decreasing funding for social programs (with corresponding social problems).

5. Continued increase in average age of US citizen and corresponding aging workforce.

6. Continued move toward a global economy.

7. Continuously increasing importance of energy conservation/worries about a warming global climate.

8. Continued movement toward religious and political conservative views at least in the immediate future.


Educational Changes

1. Continually increasing requirements for continuing education and training but with diminishing private/public support dollars.

2. Growing number of high quality packaged or individualized learning options.

3. Increasing workplace literacy needs of several types, ranging from basic literacy skills to moral issues to sensitivity to sexual and other harassment issues.

4. Increasing competition for and involvement by women (and minority males) for top management positions.

5. Continuing examination of the ways teachers are trained and utilized.






Learning Theory Changes

1. Increasing knowledge about adult learning and motivation.

2. Increasing understanding of how to facilitate adult learning.

3. Expanded thinking/cognitive/learning style models to organize vast amounts of information.

4. Increasing dominance of information processing as the major learning model and need.

5. Increased efforts to and requests for enhancing critical thinking skills.

6. Better understanding of learning differences in terms of gender, race, and other groupings.

7. Enhanced faith in and knowledge of different types of intelligence.

8. Better understanding and manipulation of learning environment.



Sociological Changes

1. Multiple and changing careers.

2. Continued growing importance of dual career families.

3. Increasing number of single parents (both male and female).

4. Greater concern for the whole person, including physical, emotional, and spiritual.

5. Growing emphasis on moral/ethical decision making.

6. Continual growth in multiculturalism in the United States.







Figure 8.1. The Most Likely Future Forces to Impact Teachers and Trainers of Adults

Are We at a Crossroad?

There are some indications that the society existing as the United States, and even the world society, is at a crossroad in the evolution of mankind. Such a suggestion is, of course, easy to make but difficult to verify. Indeed, writers have been predicting either the end of the world or the development of a utopia for many, many years. However, for whatever the reasons, many of which have been suggested in the preceding discussion, our society may be at a turning point from which humans will either emerge as better beings, more free and achieving at a higher potential than what is now possible, or as primarily repressed groups of mini-nations living under conditions of near poverty and illiteracy.

The beginning indications of this turning point stems mainly from the emergence of third-world countries and leaders. Smaller nations have been demanding attention and a greater share of the world 's wealth, most noticeably in the past one or two decades. Indeed, solid demonstrations of the potential economic power of quite small countries have been witnessed by most people in the world through the existing crises related to terrorism, fuel prices, ecological "green" desires, and growing recognition of how certain groupings of people are "short-changed" in various ways.

In the United States there are several indications of significant changes taking place in society. People are living alternative lifestyles and others have stopped shunning those that do. Although the change is slow, groups of people such as gays, lesbians, and African Americans, are making societal inroads. The aftermath of the various political and economic scandals of the 1990s and early part of the 21st Century, as well as 9/11/01 has been new laws, governmental efforts, and awareness by the common citizen that they must become more a part of the worldwide society.

Trends and Issues in Higher Education

At times it is impossible to distinguish between the various levels of education. Where higher education leaves off and adult education begins is frequently difficult to determine. Trying to describe lifelong learning possibilities without referring to all levels of education or all age groupings of people is also difficult. In addition, education at the K-12 level is connected to college education or adult education by the learning skill levels and attitudes formed in youth. However, the intent of this section is to delineate some trends and issues affecting colleges and universities that have potential linkages to adult and continuing education.

For example, the potential of the community college in facilitating learning for adults is still underutilized. Adult education activities through the community service arms of community colleges have been on the increase during recent years; however, changes in the political climate or the ups and downs of financial circles can greatly impact what community colleges are able to do. In many respects, the community college is perhaps the best candidate at the community level to bring about some coordination of the many educational activities available and possible for adults. For example, many Tribal Colleges (often at the community college setting or level) are beginning to have a tremendous impact on the way Native American adults and youth participate in educational activities.

Another issue of concern to most higher education administrators is the financial support available for programming. Federal and private sources are becoming more difficult to obtain, tax dollar support is being scrutinized much more carefully, and the ability of students to further increase the amount they pay for higher education is limited. Such problems will in many ways force institutions of higher education to become more efficient and more careful in their long-range planning. However, the issue of maintaining quality is a plaguing concern. One implication is that some colleges and universities will attempt to "cash in" on the adult education market as a means of new support.

An important trend primarily in recent years has been the rapid interest in and growth of distance and on-line learning. Implying primarily the provision of alternative learning opportunities through technological means, such programs are now available "virtually" everywhere someone can access them via a personal computer. Employing such non-traditional modes as learning contracts, computer mediated conversations, and web sites loaded with resource information, many institutions offer college degrees for people who never set foot on a traditional college campus.

Although such trends will not change the approach to education overnight, they are encouraging signs that higher education is responding to some of the lifelong learning forces described in the first chapter. Future research, program development, and innovations are exciting to contemplate and educators and trainers of adults should insure they are part of the process of change.

Trends Specific to Adult and Continuing Education

The first chapter, specifically, and portions of several other chapters alluded to several forces or needs that have helped to stimulate the lifelong learning movement and the increased interest in adult education. Rapid social change, high numbers of individuals with little or no education, the need for constant retraining, the variety of special audiences to be reached, and the discovery of the active self-directed learner are some of these forces and needs.

Other forces described above, such as an apparent increasing leisure, the influence of the third world, the predictions of futurists, and the potential of alternative or greatly different lifestyles, will also impact the field of adult education and the lifelong learning movement in many ways. Consequently, the purpose of this section is to describe apparent trends specific to adult and continuing education as a prelude to describing a variety of needs remaining to be met.

Increasing Participation

The tremendous increase in the number of adults participating in various forms of adult and continuing education has already been supported in earlier chapters. There is every reason to believe that such increases will continue, especially considering the many forces described above. Continuing professional education needs, for example, should continue to rapidly expand. In addition, the discovery of the immense activity by self-directed learners through the Tough research model (see earlier chapters) has added an entirely new dimension to analyzing participation trends.

The implications are many. The most obvious one is the vast opportunity for educators to find ways to meet such needs. Large numbers of newly trained adult educators will be required and many educators who now work mainly with children or college-age students must also become more skilled in facilitating the education of adults. More and better programs, new instructional techniques, many additional resources for learning, and new approaches to reaching people will also be required.

Marginality Versus Acceptance

The various forces already discussed and the rapid growth in participation continuously stimulate the notion that the field of adult education must move from a status of marginality in institutional or community settings to one of being accepted, understood, and even supported. This is especially true as distance education efforts are increased because adult educators often play an important part in such efforts. That is not to say that adult educators are yet equal partners with other educators, nor are financial support dollars increasing very rapidly. However, the general field of education is very aware of the growth in adult education interest and in many institutions a more "equal billing" is being considered in relation to adult education programs. We have a ways to go, but there are reasons to be optimistic.

The implications here, too, are numerous. Increased recognition will not only facilitate the increase and improvement of adult education programs, but will also help adult education professionals increase their impact on people because of the legitimizing spillover. Being able to meet with other educators on an equal footing should provide opportunities for significant interchanges that affect research, instructional methodologies, and the interrelationships possible between education at all levels. Indeed, the biggest benefit for adult educators to be derived from the move away from marginality is a better understanding of the entire lifelong learning concept.

Technological and Instructional Advances

New technologies and instructional methodologies are continuously being developed. For example, new uses for the computer related to instruction and record keeping are constantly evolving. As noted earlier, on-line learning and other forms of distance education appear on the increase. Various on-line support systems, individualized learning processes, and concepts like the learning resource center are also being experimented with in conjunction with adult learning.

Increasing attention is also being given to the approaches appropriate in facilitating learning for the adult, many of which have been described in earlier chapters. The deemphasis on grading, involving the learner more in determining the content, decreasing the formality or traditionalism in the class setting, and experimenting with alternative approaches to the classroom setting as a basis for learning are some of the changes taking place.

Certainly such advances will continuously affect the adult education field. New people may be reached and instructional skills may improve. However, the financial support needs will increase in many instances and the problems of training or retraining adult educators to use the new advances will be many. A careful evaluation of the advances or changes must be made.

The Self-Directed Learner

The discovery of the vast amount of learning by adults that takes place each year outside of formal classrooms has been mentioned several times. However, the significance of such a discovery is not yet really understood. As research procedures become refined there are many indications that the high level of involvement will be found to be fairly consistent irrespective of such variables as location, amount of education, age, economic status, and occupational history. The increase in on-line learning also will necessitate more reliance on self-directed learning notions. Consequently, it is anticipated that adult learning opportunities will increasingly be of a self-directed nature.

The implications for the adult and continuing educator are related to both the right and the responsibilities involved with seeking to serve the self directed learner. "Should such learning be assisted and, if so, to what degree?" are philosophical questions that must be answered. In addition, learning how to create better educational resources, how to help learners become more efficient in accessing resources, and how to help activate the many potential learning resources available at the community level and in a variety of non-education institutions are all activities that require immediate attention.

Several Areas of Need

There are many areas important to the lifelong learning movement that require attention in the way of research, increased support, or decision-making. Many of these needs have been discussed or alluded to in earlier chapters. However, the purpose of this section is to highlight several of the areas of need in the hope that interested educators and leaders in the adult education field will have some bases for focusing much of their future attention.

The Training Need of Adult Educators

Most of the trends described in the above sections have direct ramifications for the training of adult educators at undergraduate, graduate, and in-service levels. In addition to the increasing emphasis on understanding human behavior that was alluded to, adult educators will certainly need to know increasingly more about the learning process and how effective learning is facilitated, especially in light of enhanced technological delivery approaches. Such educators, if they are to translate this knowledge into educational programs and services, will also need to become highly skilled in needs diagnosis, program planning, utilizing new technology as it develops, and facilitating learning for a variety of non-traditional formats.

Future adult educators will also need to be thoroughly grounded in community theory and the various strategies available for working with a variety of community groups and institutions. A related need is understanding the broad field of adult education and its historical importance in relation to individuals, communities, and society. In some instances a person may need to become thoroughly familiar with the operation of a specific agency or clientele group, but such specificity should not be at the expense of a broad understanding of the role and programs important to all of adult education.

Another important need is the ability to maintain a thorough understanding of contemporary society as it evolves, changes, and creates entire new sets of educational opportunities. Such a suggestion calls for educators to become future oriented, to constantly analyze trends and projections, and to frequently question their own roles in society.

Learner-Oriented Needs

There are several groups of learners or potential learners who have special needs that could be better served. Chapter 1 has a listing of various audiences with special needs. Handicapped adults, minority individuals, individuals in institutions, older adults, and women are some of those with crucial needs. Adult educators will be required to discover and utilize new approaches to working with such people.

The case already made concerning the self-directed learner suggests several related needs. Making more and better resources available for learning are important starts that must be made. In addition, several more difficult challenges requiring attention are helping people improve their self-learning abilities, helping learners judge their own competencies and actual needs, and helping learners become better planners in order to match available resources with discovered needs.

Another important need is for better instructional models. In other words, much more about the uniqueness of the adult learner, adult oriented instructional techniques, and how learners respond best in on-line or other distance learning settings must be known. This implies that a better understanding of how to work with the learner in non-traditional settings is urgently needed.

Community-Level Needs

Considerable attention has already been given in this and in other chapters to the close relationship between adult educators and activities within the community setting. One of the related needs involves identifying the many resources potentially available for education and finding ways to activate their usage by learners.

Another closely allied need is learning how to provide a better coordination of educational programs and opportunities for adults. This entails an enhanced communication with citizens of a community regarding available resources, the utilization of the best resources to meet a certain need, and the facilitation of adult educators representing various agencies or institutions working in closer and supportive harmony. Whether such a need can be met through ad hoc relationships or whether one agency should perform such a role is still to be determined. However, the linking together of a community, its needs, and its resources is a logical requirement for surviving in a complex tomorrow.

Needs at the Leadership Level

There are several needs visible at the leadership level that are fairly difficult to articulate and probably just as difficult to correct. For example, most adult educators have a much greater potential for power within society than is assumed. The very nature of the type of person who gravitates to positions of service and who receives gratifications from seeing others grow and change instead of from constant product accomplishments often precludes that person undertaking an active lobbying or even political role. However, it is contended that future adult educators must fill a much larger role in establishing public policies and even assuming roles of power, especially those that have an impact on learning needs.

Another need is for adult educators to begin removing their institutional blinders. Most educators are tied so tightly to a variety of rules, regulations, and approaches to teaching that innovations are next to impossible. In addition, many adult educators confine themselves to only one small part of the educational field. Keeping in touch with other professionals, understanding change that takes place in other disciplines, and viewing lifelong learning as a movement that is affecting all age groups are important needs.

Expanding the extension of adult learning to various non-traditional sites, learning to utilize the various emerging non-traditional approaches, and working to keep such non-traditional approaches from becoming institutionalized or used only from a profit-oriented motive are also important needs. It is my contention that adult educators have a potential to be the main leaders in the lifelong learning movement and in developing the various alternatives necessary for the non-traditional approach to learning. However, it will take knowledgeable professionals who are willing to change, to grow, and continuously learn, if such leadership needs are to be met.

Opportunities for Educators

The many factors that have contributed to the lifelong learning movement and the continuous growth of adult education programs and activities have created many opportunities for educators as teachers, trainers, resource developers, instructional designers, counselors, and administrators. There are many jobs open on a part-time basis, for example, and increasingly on a full-time basis, for teachers trained primarily to work with K-12 audiences. Retraining through in-service training or graduate degrees is often necessary to obtain or hold such positions or simply because many teachers suddenly find themselves working with adults. Thus, future K-12 teachers in their initial training should consider adding course work in, and exposure to, adult and continuing education.

The opportunities are wide ranging. At the community-wide level the educator as a resource person can work with a variety of non-school organizations helping with various planning, evaluating, and instructional needs. Increasingly agencies or businesses must respond to the rapid explosion of knowledge or the advent of new technology, and they frequently require help in designing in-service training sessions for employees, developing instructional materials, and evaluating learning activities. Therefore, it is suggested that educators make themselves more available as community resources.

Part-time teachers are constantly needed in the area of adult and continuing education. For example, many teachers and trainers across the country have been able to gain new skills through in-service training or, through experience, have adapted their previous skills and are employed in Adult Basic Education, adult high school, or GED (high school equivalency diploma) programs. Community and junior colleges, too, have an increasing need for teachers skilled or willing to become skilled in working with adults as teachers or curriculum specialists. Many of the special audiences described in Chapter 1 are also being reached through a variety of educational efforts that require teaching and other kinds of programming assistance.

The growing interest in non-traditional delivery systems, on-line learning, and in the self-directed adult learner is also beginning to create new opportunities. For example, designing effective web sites as learning resource centers requires educators with a variety of skills. Undoubtedly such pressures as those described in this section will create positions and opportunities not even dreamed of yet, but the dynamic nature of adult education is what makes it such an interesting field with which to be associated.

Study Stimulators

1. The "future invention" approaches described in this chapter suggest there are ways of forecasting what is needed in adult and continuing education programs. Think about the future as it may impact you and suggest some of the implications for new programs and even your own training and development.

2. Select a trend in education, such as the continuing problem with adult illiteracy, declining national achievement test scores for some groups of K-12 youth, or something else you are aware of, and project it into about 2025. What are the implications for education both now and in the future?

3. Simulate that year 2025 and pick out one or two things in education or in adult education that you would like to see take place by then. What is required in the way of policy, decision-making, and programs to get there?

4. Select anyone of the societal trends described in the first part of the chapter and derive some implications for teachers and trainers of adults.

5. Identify any non-traditional education opportunity in or nearest to your community. What is the nature of its impact on participants?

6. What are the implications of the increasing interest in on-line education and degrees for the preparation of teachers and trainers of adults?

7. Select anyone of the trends suggested as specific to adult education and determine how your life as an educator or as a person interested in education will be affected.

8. Given the information presented in this book, what type of skills would you suggest an adult educator should have to be effective?

Selected Bibliography

Buckminster Fuller, R. (1969). Utopia or oblivion. New York:Bantam Books. This book is worth searching out your public library or used book stores. In it the author talks about the prospects for humanity in the future in light of technology, decreasing resources, and international conflicts. His thesis is that utopia is possible and our only hope. The chapter on design strategy contains a tremendous amount of information and some ideas all educators should consider.

Drucker, P. F. (1968). The age of discontinuity: Guidelines to our changing society (Reprinted in 1992). New York: Harper & Row. The author describes the implications of technology on knowledge and talks about a world economy. The problems in society and the constant need for new knowledge are also discussed.

Edwards, R., & Usher, R. (2001). Lifelong learning: A postmodern condition of education? Adult Education Quarterly, 51, 273-287. The authors talk about the reemergence of lifelong learning in light of the various postmodern concerns and conditions. The suggest that lifelong learning can take place within postmodern conditions.

Faure, E.F, & Associates. (1972). Learning to be. Paris: UNESCO. The book begins with a description of the history and current status of education. The authors then turn to the future needs of education in relationship to society. Some future needs, technological trends, and goals are described and a case made for a learning society.

Guterl, F. (2002). Pondering the future's future. Newsweek, September 16, 34B, 34D, 34H. The author presents several changes taking place that will revolutionize the way we do things. Other futuristic information is presented later in this same issue.

Hake, B. J. (1999). Lifelong learning in later modernity: The challenges to society, organizations, and individuals. Adult Education Quarterly, 49, 79-90. Hake describes the reemergence of lifelong learning as a topic of interest and describes new ways social allocations of various resources impact on lifelong learning opportunities. His chapter also contains several useful references related to the topic.

Harrington, F. H. (1977). The future of adult education:  New responsibilities of colleges and universities. San Francisco : Jossey-Bass. This book provides several useful ideas on the future in terms of how higher education would be affected.

Hiemstra, R. (1987). Creating the future. In R. G. Brockett (Ed.), Continuing education in the future (New Directions for Continuing Education, Number 36). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. This chapter provides a description of the processes used to think about the future and depicts several trends occurring in the field. This entire sourcebook by Brockett provides several useful chapters.

Hoare, C. H. (1982). Future issues in Adult Education: A review of the literature of the seventies. Adult education, 33(1), 55-69. The author presents a useful assessment on how a review of the literature can provide insights for the future of adult education, including a depiction of several trends.

Hutchins, R. M. (1968). Learning society. New York: Frederick A. Praeger. This is another classic worth searching for. Hutchins describes the circumstances of present-day education. Technology of education, liberal education, and the university are some of the topics covered. The author concludes the book with a plea that a learning society can and must be developed.

McRae, H. (1996). The world in 2020: Power, culture and prosperity. Boston: Harvard Business School Press. McRae presents a British slant on the future. He uses the extrapolation method from current trends to talk about the world over the next couple of decades.

Naisbitt, J., & Aburdene, P. (1990). Megatrends 2000: Ten new directions for the 1990's. New York: William Morrow and Company. In a useful follow-up to their first version of the topic, the authors describe a number of trends that we now know have impacted the world. Their chapter on the triumph of the individual especially has relevance for adult education.

Toffler, A. (1970). Future shock (Reissued in 1991). New York: Random House. Toffler did perhaps more than any other author to help people think serious about the future in the 20th Century. His work became a landmark for futurists, writers, and even adult education scholars in their efforts to think about tomorrow in terms of implications for today.

Toffler, A. (1980). The third wave (Reissued in 1991). New York: Morrow. In this book Toffler looks at the nature and process of the technological revolution that has impacted the entire world. He includes an historical perspective, too. Adult educators will find value in understanding how the revolution he describes has and will impact on they way we work with learners.


-- Return to Roger Hiemstra's opening page

-- Return to the Lifelong Learning contents page

-- Go to the Preface, information about the author, Chapter One, Chapter Two, Chapter Three, Chapter Four, Chapter Five, Chapter Six, or Chapter Seven