Show Less
Open access

Adult Education and Work Contexts: International Perspectives and Challenges

Comparative Perspectives from the 2017 Würzburg Winter School


Edited By Regina Egetenmeyer and Monica Fedeli

Adult education has deep connections with employment contexts. This volume discusses interrelations within transnational contexts studied during the Würzburg Winter School on Comparative Studies in Adult Education and Lifelong Learning (COMPALL). The book shows that adult education and work contexts are influenced by international and transnational developments. The findings are presented in three chapters: Lifelong Learning Policies Targeting Employment Contexts; Transnational Perspectives on Lifelong Learning Policies; Employment Perspectives and Professionalisation in Adult Education.

Show Summary Details
Open access

Enhancing employability through innovative teaching methods in adult learning and education: A comparative study of Nigeria and India (Bolanle C. Simeon-Fayomi / Elizabeth A. Ajayi / Nikola Koruga / Geetanjali Baswani)

← 200 | 201 →

Bolanle C. Simeon-Fayomi, Elizabeth A. Ajayi, Nikola Koruga & Geetanjali Baswani

Enhancing employability through innovative teaching methods in adult learning and education: A comparative study of Nigeria and India

Abstract: The study is based on the theory of andragogy, reviewing the practice and teaching methods of adult education in Nigeria and India with life stories from ten adults. The study arrived at a framework of innovative teaching methods that can be used in formal, non-formal and informal contexts to aid employability based on its findings.


In today’s globalised world, we are familiar with the concept of the knowledge-based society, in which education and work are interconnected. If we accept the idea that education should provoke positive change at the individual and society level, then adult learning and education (ALE) would be fundamental in societies experiencing dynamic economic changes, such as developing countries. This was confirmed in the Third Global Report on Adult Learning and Education, which emphasised the fact that education boosts skills that invariably make people successful and flexible in the labour market (UIL, 2016, p. 12). In the recent debate, employability is not only seen as prosperity but also as an effect of individual learning taking place in formal, non-formal, and informal settings as part of a lifelong learning process. Learners are empowered and enhanced by developing critical, reflective abilities. By developing these attributes, techniques, or experiences, employability enables learners to get jobs or to progress within the same career or to have a career transition. Employability is a main concern and issue for developing countries, because being enrolled in a professional course or formal education does not assure employability.

In recent years, we can track the changes happening in higher education to the idea of students’ employability – especially in countries with a developed neoliberal economy, where the major role of tertiary institutions is the production of an appropriately trained workforce that fits employers’ needs (Boden & ← 201 | 202 → Nedeva, 2010, p. 38). Although building knowledge societies in terms of competitive economies places higher demands on individuals’ educational level, there is a need for considering wider educational and cultural horizons, especially when analysing countries in economic transition or development.

Although developing countries struggle with and focus on illiteracy, ALE can be seen as a main factor for economic development, providing skills relevant to employment. This is important because employability means much more than getting a job. It is related to lifelong learning (LL), because individuals need a range of attributes, knowledge, skills, values, and social networks to gain and maintain employment throughout their lifetime. This perspective of employability shows that education should go beyond the formal school age and extend to adulthood. Moreover, it is important to keep in mind the broader view of education, which includes indigenous knowledge and authentic local experience in learning processes between teachers and adult learners. This is the aim of ALE: to develop active citizenship, to enable productive ageing, and to promote employability.

Through adult education issues of employability concerning young adults, middle-aged adults, and older adults can be addressed. The method of teaching to bring this about is very important, because it determines the extent to which the aims and objectives of learning are achieved (Bakare, 2010, p. 147). This makes it essential that ALE for employability adopts a teaching method that involves active participation and utilisation of adult learners’ knowledge. This can be found in andragogy theory, which is a process model wherein a set of assumptions is identified to ensure the involvement of adult learners in the teaching and learning process (Knowles, Holton, & Swanson, 2005, p. 115). Based on this, this study presents a comparative analysis of Nigeria and India with the specific purpose of providing answers to the following research questions:

  1. What is the employment status and ALE practice in the two countries?
  2. Which traditional ALE teaching methods are used in the two countries?
  3. Which innovative ALE teaching methods can be used in the two countries to promote employability?

Theoretical framework

Using the tenets of andragogy, it can be inferred that learning provided by ALE must be experiential, drawing on the knowledge and characteristics of adult learners (Bakare, 2010, p. 131). Andragogy assumes that a teaching method ideal for employability must be one that helps adults understand that skills have a human relationship which must be learned at home, in school, or in social or formal ← 202 | 203 → groups. To ensure the acquisition of employability skills in adulthood and in any learning context, a teaching method should

  1. encourage learning inquisitiveness;
  2. encourage and move learners toward independence and self-directed learning;
  3. ensure learners identify themselves as rich resources for learning;
  4. revolve around real-world application of learners;
  5. enhance performance in learners’ lives through learning forums;
  6. encourage and motivate adults to continually seek to update their knowledge and skills.

Teaching methods that fit into the above tenets can be regarded as innovative, because they will be within learner’s social settings, make use of community wisdom, knowledge, and experiences; and train adults in both hard skills and soft skills, which are qualities of a good ALE teaching method (Okenimkpe, 2003, pp. 176–177).

Teaching in ALE and employability

In simple terms, a teaching method can be defined as the overall plan for systematic presentation based on an approach including specific activities known as techniques (Brown, 2001, p. 34). In ALE, the teaching method to be used should be one that goes beyond giving knowledge to empowering learners to be self-dependent in their learning activities. This is the difference between the conventional act of teaching children and the act of teaching adults. The teaching of adults includes the development of social and professional skills, which can be provided by ALE as a solution to formal education deficiencies. ALE contributes to the developmental needs of developing countries (Wadhwa, 2000, pp. 41–45).

ALE can also be regarded as multidimensional education aimed at providing knowledge and imparting skills in an integrated manner. It is based on the underlying idea that the needs of workers require specifically tailored programmes relating to employable skills (Jha, Goswami, & Surana, 2015, p. 26). ALE as an aspect of LL helps to equip adults with job-specific occupational skills and inter-personal skills that will allow learners to enter into and attain some success in work world. The teaching-learning strategies for employability skills must be both guided and self-directed and involve the application of knowledge and skills.

Workforce employability is essential to turn structural change into an opportunity for all. Through innovative teaching methods in adult education, connections are to be established between study, personal development, and other activities ← 203 | 204 → that influence learners’ ability to find employment and be successful in their chosen jobs. Personal skills such as communication, leadership, self-motivation, team-work, time management, listening, ability to work under pressure, making decisions, problem-solving, creativity, and so forth can be acquired, developed, and improved. Depending on the definition of ALE in the local context, the method employed for teaching may vary, and this may indirectly affect employability.


This study was a qualitative study employing the narrative inquiry technique, literature review, and observation. These methods were used because they provided stories that were coherent and based on continuing personal experience concerning issues of employability in the countries under review. Moreover, studying and interpreting self-narratives helped the researchers to access the participant’s identity and their contextual responses to employability and ALE teaching methods based on their cultural and social world (Lieblich, Tuval Mashiach, & Zilber, 1998 p. 9). We think this is important for a holistic understanding of ALE teaching methods and employability in the countries. We selected a sample size of 5 individuals per country using multistage sampling techniques of purposive and convenience sampling techniques to ensure that the formal, non-formal, and informal context of ALE were represented in each country.

The instrument for data collection was a semi-structured interview containing items in three sections. The first, second, and third sections were used to collect participants’ personal information, their employment and skills details, and their knowledge of ALE teaching methods, respectively. The results of the interview were presented in a narrative form and interpreted by applying content analysis. Categories are determined after initial documentation of the stories in relation to the research questions and personal experiences of participants. The findings were discussed based on categories of the research questions.

Data analysis

ALE practice and employment in Nigeria

ALE in Nigeria has its basis in the indigenous system of education, where children, youth, and adults have varying levels of knowledge, skills, and values to acquire. With the advent of Islam, Christianity, and colonisation, the indigenous system of education became silent while the Western education model took over. Due to high rate of non-literacy then, we had formal adult education, which started with acquiring the basic 3Rs. Gradually, the obsession with knowledge, skills, and ← 204 | 205 → development required people to update their knowledge and skills, so we had innovative programmes in ALE. From observation, we can group non-formal ALE programmes recognised and practised in Nigeria as:

  1. Literacy: This includes basic adult literacy and post literacy.
  2. Vocational: This includes workers’ education, industrial training, extension education (health and agriculture), and apprenticeships.
  3. Continuing education: This includes programmes related to remedial education, extra-mural classes, tertiary-level part-time, sandwich, and distance learning.
  4. Civic oriented: This includes programmes related to citizenship, rural education, health education, environmental education, political education, women’s education, retirement education, and nomadic education.

The country can be considered to practice formal ALE with academic programmes at various tertiary institutions. Although there are 82 federal, 124 state, and 103 private tertiary institutions in Nigeria, unemployment statistics do not seem to have improved significantly over the years. The government of Nigeria acknowledged this situation by providing schemes such as the Graduate Internship Scheme (GIS), the Nigerian Government’s National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS), and even the Student Industrial Work Experience Scheme (SIWES). Aside from these, there are also non-governmental organisations (NGOs) working on functional and entrepreneurship literacy to support the government in reducing the rate of unemployment. Statistics from the Nigerian National Bureau of Statistics (2016) show that the unemployment rate increased from 21.1 per cent in 2010 to 29.2 per cent in 2015 – this is disheartening. It is important to note that the method used for teaching is integral to employability skills because it ensures that learners get the soft skills and hard skills expected by employers or would-be employers. Hence, adults should not be taught with conventional methods, which often influence ideas and the curriculum. The methods used for teaching adults at the formal, informal, and non-formal levels of ALE have not had an impact in the labour market, as we have seen in the statistics of countries such as Nigeria.

The conventional teaching methods for ALE in Nigeria can be seen from the different types of programmes regarded as ALE. Some scholars recognised methods such as lecture/talk-chalk/telling; discussion; assignment/project/ written work; simulation/demonstration; seminar and workshop (Okenimkpe, 2003, p. 181; Bakare, 2010, pp. 141–144; Zuofa & Olori, 2015, p. 1134), which are common for the civic-oriented and vocational adult education programmes. For the continuing adult education programmes, we find a heavy reliance on the lecture method, ← 205 | 206 → although it is not considered ideal for adult learners. For literacy, Okediran in Ihejirika (2013, p. 134) and the National Commission for Mass Literacy, Adult and Non-Formal Education (2008, p. 16) identified a one-on-one instructional approach (referred to in the country as ‘each-one-teach-one’), Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA), Regenerated Freirean Literacy through Empowering Community (REFLECT), and basic literacy by radio.

These commonly used methods have their benefits, but they also have disadvantages in terms of andragogy principles, because they do not enhance employability skills. For instance, the lecture, project, basic literacy by radio, and seminar formats are often rigid, not allowing the experience of adult learners to come into play. Ojokheta (2007) also disapproved of REFLECT, because his study revealed that when basic literacy learners are allowed to freely discuss the situation they live in to determine their problems, they get carried away and may not be interested in continuing with the learning activity. This may also be applicable to PRA, because both approaches have a way of raising consciousness in learners.

In order to establish teaching methods that are self-directed, active, experiential, collaborative, and narrative, all of which can enhance employability, it may be necessary to exploit traditional means of transmitting knowledge that will make maximum use of learners’ experience and participation.

ALE practice and employment in India

In India, there have been conceptual changes in ALE (Shah, 2010, p. 80) from basic literacy, civic literacy, functional literacy, and developmental literacy to critical literacy, that is, moving towards critical thinking empowering learners to ask questions, seek information, take decisions, have equal access to education, health, livelihood, and all public institutions, participate in shaping their realities, create knowledge, participate in the workforce with improved skills, exercise agency fearlessly, and as a consequence, deepen democracy. At the tertiary level, India has 46 central universities, 358 state universities, 123 deemed universities, and 266 private universities. There is recognition that formal education alone cannot provide enough to improve citizens’ potential to be employed in the country’s economic sector. Consideration is still being given to ALE, as seen in the efforts of the government and international organisations.

For instance, there is the Skill Development Initiative Scheme (SDIS), which provides early school leavers and workers, especially in an unorganised sector, with employable skills. Only about 2.5 million vocational training seats are available in the country, whereas about 12.8 million persons enter the labour market every year (Directorate General of Training, no date). Even out of the training ← 206 | 207 → places, very few are available for early school dropouts. This signifies that a large number of school dropouts do not have access to skill development for improving their employability. There is also the Saakshar Bharat Mission, whose aim is to promote and strengthen adult learning with basic literacy, covering vocational education and skill development, applied science, and sports (UNESCO, no date). Due to its approach, Saakshar Bharat is described as a ‘people’s programme’, with the government acting as facilitator and resource provider, but working closely with local communities to tailor the programme to their needs. India also has programmes such as SWABHIMAAN and DIKSHA that provide functional literacy classes to non-literate adults over a period in both rural and urban areas. Under these programmes 69,681 adults have been made literate (Rotary India Literacy Mission, no date).

With all these efforts, the number of unemployed persons in India went from 5.10 million in 1971 to 46.80 million in 2013 and to 48.26 million in 2014 (Trading Economics, no date). Fortunately, the unemployment rate decreased by half from 9.5 per cent in August 2016 to 4.8 per cent in February 2017 (India Express, 2017). It has been predicted by the International Labour Organisation that the number of unemployed people will increase from 17.7 million in 2016 to 18 million in 2018, even though the country’s unemployment rate is expected to go down from 3.5 per cent to 3.4 per cent in 2017 (The Hindu, 2017). This reflects the need to develop entrepreneurs instead of employees, a literate and trained workforce equipped with the right set of hard and soft skills. For this purpose, acquiring employable skills is a must, and education adds to it. To ensure these, teaching methods are important, and according to Mohanty (2007, pp. 41–45), there are various teaching-learning approaches being practiced in India. Literacy methods being used include the traditional method, the alphabetic method, the word method, the letter method, the each-one-teach-one method, the Lauback method, and analytical and synthetic methods. For improving adults’ professional and social related skills, demonstration, exposition, role-playing, discussion, group work, and simulation exercises are used.

In spite of using these methods, most learners are unable to acquire employability skills. Therefore, there is a need for adult educators who believe in the role of the facilitator and who constantly link adult learners’ vast life experience to the learning material. For this purpose, innovative methods and techniques have to be identified within the community resources that can work equally well in formal, non-formal, and informal settings and develop employability skills. ← 207 | 208 →


The stories in this section are divided based on the ALE context the participants are presently involved in. The formal ALE context represents regular programmes of tertiary educational institutions; the non-formal ALE context is for those in professional extramural training development programmes; the informal ALE context is for those not enrolled in formal or non-formal training but learning within their immediate environment.

Formal context

Ahmed, a twenty-year-old Nigerian undergraduate studying full time for a B.A. in Political Science, has been able to develop writing, listening, self-motivation, and communication skills through his relationship with and observations of friends and family. He would love to develop more skills such as ICT, leadership, teamwork, and creativity skills, or the ability to work under pressure. He acknowledged that the lecture method, which is the main form of instruction in his tertiary institution, cannot help him achieve his desired skills, because it only helps him to know more about his career, not necessarily to fetch him a job upon graduation. This method does not accommodate learner’s participation and contribution, because it is teacher- and content-centred. In learning the desired employability skills, Ahmed prefers doing a practicum. The use of drama and storytelling can be regarded as innovative because it will encourage students’ participation and develop teamwork spirit, confidence, and courage. According to Ahmed, lecturers should act more like facilitators and guides to ensure the learning points are emphasised with these methods.

Folake, a thirty-year-old Nigerian in a M.Sc. Forensic Accounting programme, was once in formal employment. Hence, she has communication, creativity, ICT, and presentation skills, most of which she learnt through informal social interactions with people. She constantly upgrades her skills while on the job by reading professional books. Her desire to upgrade her employability status and skills motivated her to enrol in postgraduate studies, and she had to quit her job to manage her studies and family life. She wants to learn more about entrepreneurship skills to enhance her employability, but the straight lecture method often used in her institution does not allow for this. She stated that the instructors often believe that learners learn more when being lectured, but this method achieves nothing because it does not give room for interaction. She said that there should be a teaching method based on theories and practice, ensuring that students participate. Such methods should involve internships, demonstration, and simulation. She ← 208 | 209 → stated that sometimes there should be jokes complimenting the lecture method to arouse the interest of learners and engage their experience.

Darshita, a twenty-three-year-old pursuing a B.Eng., identified skills as visioning, decision making, working under pressure, problem solving, leadership and decision-making, and team building. She mostly acquires skills when she finds upcoming opportunities and new challenges. The motivating factors for updating skills are the targets, achievements, her passion for learning, and her curiosity to find new patterns. The source of skill update is interaction, e-learning, and reading. By constantly updating skills, whenever she sees new programming problems, she feels more confident in making programming codes. She is apt to learn every new skill, which rejuvenates her passion. In classes, her teachers use explanation through examples. Their delivery of slides is insufficient to satisfy learners’ interest, curiosity, and expectations. Instead, Darshita said they should use case studies of the delivered topics and create an environment for free and creative expression of thoughts to make new employable skills achievable. Participatory and experiential learning approaches should be used.

Shaila is a twenty-two-year-old Indian studying for a master’s degree in rural development. When she was counselled regarding post-graduate courses, she did not expect the course to equip her with employability skills. She is a commerce graduate with interpersonal skills, computing skills, writing and listening skills, innovative and creative skills, but lacks confidence and good decision-making practices. She is keen to learn and adapt to her environment by updating her knowledge and required skills. The source of learning is her teachers, peers, and relatives. In the post-graduate classes, she is experiencing a much better learning environment. The teaching methods used are discussion, participatory approach, role-playing, and projects, which give ample opportunity for free expression of thoughts using her experiences. Now she is in her second year and has developed managerial, leadership, and problem-solving skills. Her programme allows for flexibility, which allows her to decide what, when, and how she would like to learn in classes. Her teachers make use of movies, documentaries, cultural performances, and real-life incidents to simplify the course content and relate to her routine experiences. Therefore, joyful and meaningful learning takes place, which ensures the development of employable and transferable skills.

Non-formal context

Chineye is a thirty-nine-year-old Nigerian entrepreneur. She learnt fashion design through an apprenticeship after her secondary school education and became her own boss fifteen years ago. She has skills such as the ability to work under pressure, ← 209 | 210 → communication, leadership, time-management, creativity skills, among others. She acquired these skills during her apprenticeship training, but she constantly updates them to ensure that her customers are satisfied, to remain versatile in her career, and also to make more money. Usually when there are new styles in vogue, she will go to her trainer to learn about it, but subsequently she learns from videos, magazines, and the mass media in general. Updating her skills is beneficial, because she noted that her customers have increased by 50 per cent, and she is able to constantly satisfy them, she has more apprentices, and she keeps abreast with trends in the fashion world. She desires to learn more skills, such as suit-making and effective use of ICT, in order to expand her business and employment territories. She hopes to acquire these skills with support from and interaction with her colleagues, and demonstration will be the best method to help her achieve them. She finds demonstrations of cloth making on ICT platforms to be an innovative teaching method, but she may face challenges, such as being distracted by customers and neighbours, but this can be alleviated by learning outside her business premises to ensure that distractions from known persons do not happen.

Osaze is a thirty-five-year-old Nigerian, a basic literacy learner, and an automobile mechanic. He is self-employed and started his job as a mechanic after completing an apprenticeship at the age of nineteen. He was able to develop communication, creativity, and problem-solving skills. He was motivated to enrol at a basic literacy centre to develop better communication, reading, writing, and calculation skills to enhance his work. He was also motivated because he sometimes felt intimidated by his apprentices, who are secondary school students or dropouts. The method used often can be regarded as participatory, but it seems more like an active lecture method, which is limited because it does not encourage learners to teach other learners. A better teaching method that can use the experiences of the learners would be one involving indigenous arts such as music, film, drama, and stories. According to Osaze, this can be indigenous in nature, but it can also be misused as mere fun by learners. Therefore, he advised that the facilitators at the centres should be guided properly on the purpose of using these arts.

Swati is an Indian, a science graduate, and a forty-two-year-old beautician. Initially, she worked as a schoolteacher and then, at the age of twenty-eight, began a beauty parlour in a small room in her house. Her communication, creativity, and problem-solving skills motivated her to do something to match her skills, and she started the parlour and did a diploma course. Now, after fourteen years, her parlour is housed in a separate building. She has trained about 200 persons. She has also been a trainer in government schemes like swarozgar yojana and pradhanmantri kaushal vikas yojana to empower girls. Client requests and the ← 210 | 211 → variation in clients’ behaviour motivate her to frequently update her skills. The challenge in her job is to understand the mind-set of the client to satisfy them with the services they demand and expect. The sources she uses to update her skills are seminars, workshops, training programmes by beauty experts, visiting other parlours, and the Internet. She stated that when seminars, workshops, demonstration, discussion, and lecture are used, there is no room for hands-on experience for participants. With constant update of creativity, communication and listening skills, she can remain successful and well prepared in advance to cater to the needs of clients.

Rajendra is a forty-year-old Indian farmer, who over time has acquired new knowledge and skills related to agriculture to keep him abreast of the new technology in agriculture; to overcome problems arising from unexpected weather conditions; and to maintain the fertility of the soil. He has gained a lot of information regarding good farming from his ancestors, peers and the songs, stories, and proverbs based on agricultural activities. He visits agricultural research centres to meet scientists and to attend fairs and exhibitions. At the fairs, lectures and discussions are organised by experts. In between lectures, current agricultural issues and concerns are conveyed through folk songs and cultural performances. Five years ago, he was an illiterate and he could only learn whatever information was communicated orally. Being dependent on others for reading, writing, and calculation made him feel bad. He decided to be independent by becoming literate so that he can also make use of all the sources of information: newsletters, pamphlets, magazines, newspapers, and e-learning. He joined adult literacy classes and is now a role model in his village by being in touch with all kinds of relevant information to get the best farming outcomes. He can be said to have acquired 40 per cent transferable skills.

Informal context

Ekaette is a forty-year-old Nigerian cloth seller and a primary school dropout who has been employed since the age of 26 after completing an apprenticeship. Presently, she is not on any specific training to enhance her employability, but she does have skills such as communicating in her indigenous language, decision-making, and problem solving to retain her customers and to keep abreast of trends in the cloth-trading industry. She developed these skills informally on a regular basis through observations, conversations, and relationships with customers. To enhance her communication with all types of customers, she desires to improve her communication skills in English language and her stocktaking ability. She has not enrolled in basic literacy class because there will be no one left to sell her stocks. ← 211 | 212 → She desires to continue learning these skills from her customers, neighbours, and family members. She stated that she could learn these skills through proverbs, storytelling, and practice.

Ragini is a thirty-five-year-old Indian housewife who is also a tailor (she sews at home). She keeps pace with changing trends through informal interactions with customers. At the age of fifteen, she learnt tailoring skills from her mother, and at age twenty-three, she began to sew professionally. She is good at visioning, decision-making, creativity, and time management but cannot update her tailoring skills frequently because of family responsibilities and limited exposure. The only opportunities to learn are her observations at parties or other social functions, so she depends solely on customers to bring their designs while she sews to meet their satisfaction. She stated that she is not really interested in learning new tailoring skills, but she wants to be able to manage her time well so she can finish her work fast and meet her financial needs. She believes this can be learnt through simulated practices and experiential learning at capacity-building events.

Discussion of findings

Based on the narratives and existing literatures above, the following were deduced in line with the research questions.

What is the employment status and ALE practice in the countries?

Even though Nigeria and India are on different continents, they are both developing countries having a common problem of an increased unemployment rate, although India seems to have a lower rate in relation to their population than Nigeria. In both countries, university students mentioned that the educational programmes they attended did not adequately develop skills relevant for employability – which could be one reason for the low rate of employment in the two countries. Hence, ALE is available in both countries with the view of solving this problem. ALE has a similar history in the two countries, starting out with basic literacy, but it seems to have more recognition by the government of India than that of Nigeria. Although ALE is supported by NGOs in both countries, NGOs in India create more opportunities for adult learners and promote learning through folk songs, arts, local knowledge, experience exchange, and the like. The practice of ALE in Nigeria can be regarded to be in line with functional literacy while that of India is for critical literacy. In addition, of the persons that were interviewed for this study, one Indian can be said to be above average in terms of their employability skills; two Nigerians and two Indians are average; three Nigerians and ← 212 | 213 → two Indians are below average. The participants were aware of their educational needs, hence, they engage in at least one context of ALE. They identified a lack of innovative teaching methods in formal and non-formal contexts of ALE practice.

Which traditional ALE teaching methods are used in the two countries?

The programmes related to preparation for the job market were not effective, especially in Nigeria. This is because of the use of traditional teaching methods, which are content- and teacher-centred. These methods include straight lecturing, identified only by Nigerians in formal ALE; active lecturing and personal e-learning was identified in equal proportion by the two countries; discussion is more used in India than in Nigeria; role-play and seminars were identified by Indians only. Furthermore, those working in the business sector have more opportunities for professional development through participation in online and on-the-job trainings, but they also identified the lack of a blended approach combining e-learning and face-to-face exchanges with colleagues. Those employed in low-paying jobs work on skills relevant for employability through spontaneous informal, self-directed learning.

Which innovative ALE teaching methods can be used in the countries for employability?

All participants expressed their need for participative and continuous educational programmes for renewing existing skills and gaining new professional/ employability skills. They regarded themselves as experiential learners who identified the exchange of experience and practice, blended learning, and learning through arts and humour as main elements of innovative teaching-learning approaches relevant to ALE. Specifically, practicums/internships and e-learning were identified as innovative methods by Nigerians only; the use of arts (stories, film, drama, documentary, music, cultural performance) were recognised as new and innovative more by Nigerians than by Indians; whereas demonstration and simulation were identified in equal proportion by participants in both countries. With these innovative methods, they said that they would have better employability skills.


The results of the study undoubtedly show that innovative teaching methods are linked to employability in India and Nigeria. The concentration on the use of traditional ALE teaching method in all ALE contexts is a direct and indirect reason ← 213 | 214 → for the low employment status in the countries. Therefore, it is recommended that to ensure improved employability, ALE educators should observe and learn how to improve teaching with innovative methods taking into account the transitions and overlap between formal, non-formal, and informal ALE contexts, as depicted in Figure 1.

Figure1: Innovative ALE teaching methods for employability.


Source: Authors adapted from CW2, 2017 Wurzburg Winter School

The figure shows that there are some methods, such as arts and e-learning, that should be used across all ALE contexts; others, such as demonstration, simulation, and case studies, should be used for both formal and non-formal ALE contexts, whereas active lectures, practicums, and internships should be used in formal ALE alone. These methods can enhance employability because they comply with andragogy principles. Therefore, they can help learners develop skills such as writing, listening, self-motivation, teamwork, visioning, communication, self-confidence, decision-making, presentation, entrepreneurship, leadership, ICT, creativity/innovative, and presentation, among others. ← 214 | 215 →


Bakare, Tewo: “Teaching Principles and Methods in Adult Education”. In: Jegede, ‘Supo (ed.): Adult Education Series 1. Editex Publishers Limited: Lagos 2010, pp. 128–150.

Boden, Rebecca / Nedeva, Maria: “Employing discourse. Universities and graduate ‘employability’”. Journal of Education Policy 25(1), 2010, pp. 37–54, retrieved from DOI: 10.1080/02680930903349489.

Brown, Douglas: Teaching by Principles. An Interactive Approach to Language Pedagogy 2nd edition. Longman: New York 2001.

Directorate General of Training: Skill Development Initiative Scheme (SDIS), no date, retrieved 11.05.2017 from

Ihejirika, J. C: “A pre-view of government efforts in promoting mass literacy in Nigeria. Lessons from adult education historical research”. Journal of Education and Practice 4(4), 2013, pp. 132–136, retrieved from

India Express: “India’s unemployment rate sees sharp decline”. India Express, 05.03.2017, retrieved 10.05.2017 from

Jha, Banhi / Goswami, Vandana / Surana, Ajay: “Skill development through non-formal education. An imperative for national development in India”. IOSR Journal of Humanities and Social Science 20(2), 2013, pp. 26–30, retrieved on 11.05.2017 from

Knowles, Malcolm / Holton, Elwood / Swanson, Richard: The Adult Learner: The Definitive Classic in Adult Education and Human Resource Development. Elsevier: San Diego 2005.

Lieblich, Amia / Tuval-Mashiach, Rivka / Zilber, Tamar: Narative Research. Reading, Analysis and Interpretation. Sage Publications: Thousands Oaks 1998.

Mohanty, Jagannath: Adult and Non-Formal Education. Deep and Deep: New Delhi 2007.

National Bureau of Statistics: Unemployment/Underemployment: 4th Quarter Report. National Bureau of Statistics: Abuja 2016.

National Commission for Mass Literacy, Adult and Non-Formal Education: The Development and State-of-the-Art of Adult Learning and Education (ALE): National Report of Nigeria. NMEC: Abuja 2008, retrieved 10.1.2017 from ← 215 | 216 →

Ojokheta, Kester: “Paulo Freire’s literacy teaching methodology. Application and implications of the methodology in basic literacy classes in Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria”. Journal AED- Adult Education and Development 69, 2007, retrieved 10.01.2016 from

Okenimkpe, Michael: Adult Education Teaching Methods: Principles, Procedures & Techniques. University of Lagos Press: Lagos 2003.

Rotary India Literacy Mission: Adult literacy. RILM website, no date, retrieved 10.05.2017 from

Shah, S. Y.: “Teaching and training in adult and lifelong learning in India. Need for professionalisation”. Indian Journal of Adult Education 71(4), 2010, p. 80, retrieved 23.4.2016 from

Trading Economics: India Unemployed Persons. Trading Economics website, no date, retrieved 10.05.2017 from

The Hindu: “More people to be jobless in India: ILO Special Correspondents”. The Hindu, 13.01.2017, retrieved 27.06.2017 from

United Nations Education, Science and Cultural Organisation: Saakshar Bharat Mission. UNESCO, no date, retrieved 11.05.2017 from

UNESCO Institute of Lifelong Learning: 3rd Global Report on Adult Learning and Education. UNESCO Institute of Lifelong Learning: Hamburg 2016.

Wadhwa, Shalini: Theory and Principles of Adult Education. Sarup & Sons: New Delhi 2000.

Zuofa, Comfort / Olori, Christian: “Appraising adult teaching methods in Nigeria. Analysis of the effect of some teaching methods on adult learners”. American Journal of Educational Research 3(9), 2015, pp. 1133–1137, retrieved 10.01.2017 from DOI 10.12691/education-3-9-10.