The Best Laid Plans: Educational Pathways of Adult Learners in Toronto


  • Karen Robson York University
  • Paul Anisef York University
  • Robert S Brown


Continuing Education, Adult Learning


In this paper, we examine the post‑secondary plans and attainment of adult learners in Toronto, Ontario. We first describe the population of adult learners in Canada’s largest city, describing how they are largely made up of immigrants who use the continuing education adult day programs at the Toronto District School Board to upgrade their skills. We hypothesize that the adult day schools are a stepping stone for entering post‑secondary programs in Ontario and find that the vast majority of students surveyed indicated that they wished to pursue college or university. However, an administrative data set demonstrates that only a fraction of these students successfully confirmed an offer of college or university admission at a later date. We discuss this disconnect between the plans and later‑life attainment of adult learners, noting how this particular population is much different demographically than traditional high‑school students.




How to Cite

Robson, K., Anisef, P., & Brown, R. S. (2016). The Best Laid Plans: Educational Pathways of Adult Learners in Toronto. Canadian Journal for the Study of Adult Education, 29(1), 1–18. Retrieved from