Adult Education Survey (data survey of participation and non-participation of adults in life-long learning)

The AES is a survey of participation and non-participation of adults in life-long learning and, in 2007, replaced the reporting system for continuing education and training in Germany. It is an obligatory survey to be carried out by member states of the European Union.

In each of the participating countries, representative samples within the 25 - 64 year old age group (in Germany the 18 – 64 year old age group) are surveyed regarding their learning activities over the previous 12 months. Learning activities are recorded under the “Classification of Learning Activities” (published by Eurostat, Luxembourg 2006) and separated into formal education and training, non-formal education and training and informal learning. Socio-demographic data pertaining to the individuals surveyed is also recorded and additional issues are addressed which place the continuing education and training patterns in a broader context.

So far, three surveys have taken place in Germany using the AES methodology (in 2007, 2010, and 2012). The BIBB is involved in the evaluation of the 2012 AES survey in Germany as part of a project group led by the TNS Infratest Sozialforschung social research institute. As part of this, the BIBB has prepared analyses of company-based continuing education and training and of the costs, benefits and gains of continuing education and training for individuals; and of adult learning in Europe.

In the member states of the European Union, the first obligatory AES survey was conducted in 2011/12 on the basis of European Parliament and Council Regulations which include the European standard questionnaire and methodology guidelines. A pilot survey of the AES took place on a voluntary basis between 2005 and 2009 in 29 countries. The quality of the AES will be evaluated from 2013 to 2015 in a project on behalf of Cedefop. The BIBB is involved together with other partners in this evaluation.