Continuing education is usually thought of as organized educational offerings for adults beyond formal schooling in which there is a teacher and one or more learners. Lifelong learning is a much broader term which encompasses just about any kind of learning throughout life.
Within continuing education there are some distinctions in offerings, with some differences in benchmarks, procedures, and ratios for success among them. The two major broad areas of continuing education are open enrollment courses and contract training.
Open enrollment continuing education has two important different kinds of offerings. They are:
Professional continuing education
Work-related offerings, targeted to workers and employers, with
brochures often mailed to an individual at the place of work. Professional
development, professional studies, continuing professional
education, and education are some of the various terms used.
Avocational and leisure offerings, with some business and professional
development courses included, targeted to individuals,
with brochures often mailed to an individual at the place of residence.
Community education, adult education, general interest
classes, and leisure education are some of the various terms used.
In addition to open enrollment courses and offerings, continuing education may also include contract training — education developed on contract for a specific client, company, or organization and closed to the general public. Customized education, work force development, training and in-house or on-site education are some of the various terms used. Contract training has led to consulting, a growing area of contract training for continuing education.