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Lifelong learning for
a fairer Australia

Lifelong learning for
a fairer Australia

About us

ALA is committed to ensuring that all Australians can access the benefits of lifelong and lifewide learning

Adult Learning Australia (ALA) is the largest national peak body for adult and community education (ACE). We are a not-for-profit entity that has been in operation for more than 60 years, with both organisational and individual members in all states and territories who reflect the diversity of adult and community education. ALA is primarily funded by membership dues, subscriptions and project revenues.

Our vision

Download our strategic plan.


Our advocacy

ALA is committed to evidence based advocacy, using our own research and other research from the field. We advocate on the basis of our policy platform, which has been negotiated with our broader membership.

Adult Learning Australia has a broad and ambitious policy agenda which impacts many individuals, organisations and communities. We are committed to working cooperatively with the various peak and membership bodies working within this space to maximise our efforts.

We call on all political parties in Australia to adopt and prioritise the following policy areas:

  • Adult and community education
  • Adult language, literacy and numeracy
  • Lifelong learning communities
  • Inclusive learning culture
  • Educating for sustainable development

About ACE

What is ACE?

ACE refers to adult learning programs that are non-formal and non-vocational. It also refers to a sector of not-for-profit local community-based organisations who offer adult learning programs. ALA advocates for good quality ACE programs and a strong network of providers. We are committed to local solutions to community learning needs. ACE is funded by all tiers of government. The sector includes Aboriginal community education providers, AMES Australia, Centre for Adult Education (CAE) (VIC), community colleges, community learning centres, neighbourhood and community houses, libraries, U3As, Workers Education Association (SA), Workers Education Association (NSW). TAFE and other community organisations also offer ACE programs. The Ministerial Declaration on Adult and Community Education (2008) recognised the importance of ACE in providing pathways to further education and training for ‘second chance’ learners and informs ACE policy across jurisdictions. Learn more about ACE.

Our history

Our history

The Australian Association of Adult Education (AAAE) was founded at a meeting in Hobart, Tasmania, in 1960. In 1989, AAAE amalgamated with the Australian Association of Community Education to form the Australian Association of Adult and Community Education (AAACE). The name Adult Learning Australia (ALA) was adopted in 1998 to reflect a changing adult education environment. It confirmed the association’s view that the learner is the central focus of our attention, and that learning occurs through informal and non-formal means, as well as through the formal education and training systems. Learn more about our history.

  • We advocate at the national level for greater attention to adult and community education both in policy and funding terms.
  • We advise all levels of government, particularly at a national level.
  • We conduct and disseminate the results of research of relevance to practitioners.
  • We foster innovative learning methodologies.
  • We develop and publish adult learning resources.
  • We offer professional development events and forums for our members and stakeholders across Australia.
  • We unite adult educators, trainers, tutors, learners and organisations from different sectors and locations within the adult and community education space.
  • We support Adult Learners’ Week and manage the Adult Learners Week website.
  • We keep members and others informed through our quarterly e-magazine, Quest, covering issues, events, people, ideas and projects on adult learning.
  • We publish the Australian Journal of Adult Learning, a highly respected A rated journal that provides information and analysis of the theory, research and practice of adult education and learning.
  • We present an Australian voice at international forums, including through our membership of the AAACE in the United States, Learning and Work Institute (formerly NIACE) in the UK, the International Council of Adult Education (ICAE) and Asia South Pacific Bureau of Adult Education (ASPBAE).
  • We manage a national database of adult and community education providers.

Adult Learning Australia’s constitution.

Our projects

Adult Learning Australia takes on projects that are consistent with our core mission and values. Learn more about Adult Learning Australia’s projects.

Adult Learning Australia

Adult Learning Australia