Time for the ad in adult learning?

It’s September and a new year for education.

Adverts show eager, well-scrubbed children in their new school uniforms (possibly made by somewhat less bright-eyed children in overseas sweatshops). Displays of cheap crockery, pans and bedding in supermarkets and a fresh Ikea commercial are a sign that university students are kitting out their new accommodation.

Part-time adult and community learning doesn’t usually generate a need for specific clothing or relocation. Convenience and accessibility are part of its ethos. This means that there’s no major commercial tie-in for advertisers to promote.

We have to make our own fanfare and we need to be much better at it as a sector to counter the decline in adult learner numbers in recent years.

The WEA and other adult education organisations have countless amazing stories about how adult and community learning has changed students’ lives. Sometimes it’s had a knock-on effect on their families and even on their communities. We need to convince more people about the possibilities and the point of adult education to encourage them into their first class. (#firstclass Twitter hashtag anyone?)

We need to get those messages out, loud and clear, so that many more people sign up for adult education courses this September. There are many opportunities and choices with the WEA (www.wea.org.uk) and with other organisations.

It’s not just a month when children can start a new phase of their learning.

About Ann Walker
Adult education and lifelong learning specialist and campaigner. LinkedIn: http://linkd.in/1GI0QK1

5 Responses to Time for the ad in adult learning?

  1. clarewhite says:

    Agree with you on the need, but not not sure about #firstclass as a hashtag – it makes me think of our old email system rather than a return to learning!

  2. Ann Walker says:

    Fair point Clare. Alternative suggestion?

    I’d almost forgotten our old email system!

  3. Search #firstclass on twitter and see what a crowded market it is! #FirstWEAClass would work, or any vaiant of those three words.

    I also happen to think there ARE potential commercial opportunities or tie-ins – particularly in terms of technology hardware and software. With more people doing at least some of their learning online – and our slow shuffle to make our processes from enrolment to tutor admin digital – I would say there’s scope for a conversation with manufacturers or distributors, e.g. we recommend particular products, learners/ tutors etc get discounts on hardware, App/ Play Store credit etc etc. Projects like DAIN put technology centre stage in the engagement/ education process. We need to use those as our case studies when talking to tech companies, and show that there’s a market for adult ed-focussed marketing.

  4. Lindsey Tasker says:

    I’ve been thinking about people who must have attended WEA classes years and years ago and have gone on to do all sorts of interesting things that we don’t know about. There have to be lots of people who can trace who they are/what they do now back to a WEA class – it’s the slow burn long term effects of what we do that needs shouting about!

    ‘Where did the WEA take you?’ or something along those lines. No idea how you’d hashtag it – Twitter’s not my thing. #wheredidweatakeyou maybe?

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