Our new research paper Rethinking Community Based Learning suggests that the informal and non-formal learning that occurs in and through Adult and Community Education in Australia has been enormously beneficial but has largely gone unheralded. Also, that an increased focus from government could result in even stronger outcomes, particularly for socially and economically marginalised groups including in rural and regional Australia.
Learning occurs in a range of environments including our schools, and other formal learning institutions, workplaces and homes. The focus of this paper is on the informal and non-formal learning that occurs in and through community-based organisations. This learning, which is referred to in Australian policy terms as Adult and Community Education (ACE), is wonderfully diverse, innovative and resilient. It relies on the goodwill of thousands of volunteers, and committed community workers and adult educators. It transforms people and communities.