Adult education

Updated: 25 October 2017

Modified: 26 October 2017 12:00

Next update: Not yet determined

Participated in education and training

Selected tables and figures from this statistics

About the statistics

The Adult Education Survey is carried out every five years. The purpose of the survey is to collect information on the scope and content of various forms of adult learning and patterns of adults’ participation in learning activities.

Concepts and definitions in the AES are in accordance with the demands set by Eurostat.

Education refers to formal education as defined below.

Formal education includes all education leading to a qualification which is recognised in the equivalent of a national framework of qualification, e.g. elementary school, lower secondary school, modules or courses in upper secondary school, apprentices and practice candidates in upper secondary education, technical vocational schools, tertiary education giving official credit points and further education leading to a professional specialisation.

Training refers to non-formal education/training as defined below.

Non-formal education/ training refers to organised learning activity that is not formal education. It includes courses, seminars and conferences (where learning is the main purpose), public lectures and private lessons not part of formal education and guided on-the-job training.

Both formal education and non-formal education/training are institutionalised forms of learning. This entails that there is an organisation providing structured arrangements (which must include something similar to a student-teacher-relationship) especially designed for education and learning.

Informal learning is not institutionalised learning. It is thus less organised and less structured than formal education and non-formal education/training, often undertaken by the individual on his/her own. It may include watching TV or reading a book with the intention to learn, intentional learning from colleagues or family members, guided tours in a museum etc. The importance of the intention to learn when undertaking an activity separates informal learning from random learning.

Examples of formal eduation, non-formal education and training as well as informal learning can be found in Eurostat's Classification of learning activities-manual.

The industrial classification of economic activities is in accordance with the Standard industrial Classification (SN2002) until 2007, and SN2007 from 2008 onwards. The standard is based on the EU standard if NACE rev. 1.1.

Educational attainment level is primarily based on information from register information in the National Education Database. Read more about how educational attainment is classified here.

Name: Adult education

Topic: Education

Not yet determined

Division for Education and Culture Statistics

Regions and whole country.

The Adult Education Survey (AES) was first conducted in the period May-August 2007. The survey is conducted every fifth year and round two was in 2012. Data collection for the third round was carried out in the period October 2016 - February 2017. The reference period for the data collection are the last 12 months prior to the interview. While AES previously was conducted every fifth year, regulation 2019/1700 of the European Parliament and the Council specifies that from 2021, AES is conducted every sixth year. The next round will be conducted in 2022/2023.

AES microdata files are delivered to Eurostat.

The basic material (survey results from the interviewers) as well as the statistical files (on the basis of revision and estimation procedures) are stored. Anonymized microdata for the AES are also sent to Eurostat.

The purpose of the AES is to provide information about e.g. the scope and content of various forms of adult learning, motivation and obstacles to participation in education and training, job related learning, financing and patterns of adults’ participation in learning activities. Together with background information such as employment, educational attainment level, sex, income etc. this information may contribute to the knowledge base for various important policy issues.

Lifelong learning is a priority area in Norway and other countries. In the EU, possibilities for lifelong learning are defined as one of the key aims in the Lisbon strategy of making Europe the most competitive, knowledge-based and dynamic economy in the world within 2010. Today, lifelong learning includes a wider perspective than some years ago. Competence in the form of formal education, as well as courses and seminars and informal learning during working hours and free time are emphasized.

By providing the relevant authorities and other users with information about the scope, form, content, and financing of adult learning, as well as the motivation and obstacles for education and training AES contributes to the knowledge base for policy development both in Norway and at the European level.

Key users in Norway include the Ministry of Education and Research as well as some other Ministries, trade unions, research institutions, international organisations etc.

No external users have access to the statistics and analyses before they are published and accessible simultaneously for all users on at 8 am. Prior to this, a minimum of three months' advance notice is given in the Statistics Release Calendar. This is one of Statistics Norway’s key principles for ensuring that all users are treated equally.

This statistics is a part of the statistics of adult education and other tuition in Norway.

Act of 21 June 2019 No. 32 relating to official statistics and Statistics Norway §4.

Regulation (EU) 2019/1700 of the European Parliament and the Council of 10 October 2019.

The population of interest for the AES is persons aged 25- 64 years in 2017 (with the exception of persons living in an institution). The population was widened to include individuals in the age of 18-69 years in 2011 and 22-66 years in 2007. This was done in order to increase comparability with the Learning Conditions Monitor, yet only results for the population aged 25-64 years were reported by Statistics Norway and Eurostat.

From 2022/2023, persons aged 18 - 69 years will be the target population for AES.

The main data source for AES is a representative sample survey of individuals based. A combination of different sources for data collection has been used in the different waves of AES.

Computer assisted face-to-face interviews and computer assisted telephone interviews were used in 2007 and Statistics Norway’s standard two-stage probability sample design for face-to-face interviews was used. In the first sampling stage 109 Primary sampling units were selected from geographical strata (stratified based on industrial structure, number of inhabitants, centrality, communication structures, commuting patterns, trade areas and (local) media coverage). In the second stage individuals were sampled from these primary sampling units. The total number of sampled individuals was 5000 for the AES.

For AES 2012, 6000 persons in the age group 18-69 were selected. In this wave, the survey was designed as a computer assisted telephone interview survey, with possibilities of conducting a face-to-face interview if the respondent wished so.

In 2017, 5 000 individuals aged 25-64 years were sampled, and web questionnaire as well as Computer assisted telephone interview were used as methods for data collection. The sample was divided in different groups. Some groups first got the possibility to fil in the web questionnaire and later got the possibility to have a telephone interview if they had not answered the web questionnaire. In the other group, the order was opposite. The respondents were first contacted via telephone, but later got the possibility to participate in the web survey if they refused to participate in the telephone interview.

For the AES, different data collection approaches have been used in the three waves the survey has been conducted. In 2007, both Computer assisted face-to-face interviews and Computer assisted telephone interviews were used. In 2012, Computer assisted telephone interviews were used, with possibilities for conducting a Computer assisted face-to-face interview if the respondent preferred this option. Web questionnaires and Computer assisted telephone interviews were used in 2017.

Non-respondents or over-coverage units were not replaced by other individuals.

Several automatic checks have been implemented in the electronic questionnaires to prevent erroneous/inconsistent answers, flagging warnings when such errors occur asking the respondent to provide a new and valid answer. The AES data has in addition been revised using a special checking tool developed by Eurostat, executing data entry validity checks, record level consistency checks and some file level checks for extreme values.

In order to estimate population totals based on the sample, inflation factors (weights) have been calculation in a multi-stage process. First, initial weights were calculated, based on the number of individuals in the net sample compared to the known number of individuals within each of the five age groups used in the sampling.

These were then adjusted through calibration against known population totals:

a) Age (5 groups) by gender and by education level (basis school level or no education, upper secondary school, college and university level).

b) 7 regions

The resulting weights when used in estimating population totals for the number of individuals in the 30 age by gender by education groups or in the 7 regions yield results equal to the true population totals

Not relevant

Not relevant

It is possible to compare results on certain indicators in the AES with results on similar indicators in the Learning Conditions Monitor and the statistics «Lifelong learning», based on the Learning Conditions Monitor. Note that the definition of non-formal education/training used in the Learning Conditions Monitor does not include guided on-the-job training.

Eurostat has published comparable results for the participating countries. These are accesible in Eurostat's database.

In 2017, from a gross sample of 5000 individuals there were 2723 respondents. This equals a response rate of 54.5%. there was a gross sample of 6000 individuals with 3336 respondents in 2012 (response rate 55.6%). In 2007, the sample was 5000 individuals and there were 3330 respondents (response rate 67.7%).

The estimates from the AES are based on a sample of individuals. Somewhat different results might have been obtained if a different sample or if a complete census had been taken using the same questionnaires, interviewers, processing, etc. as those actually used in the survey. The uncertainty introduced by sampling is called the sampling error or standard deviation of the estimates.

Not relevant