Continuing education and further learning are becoming increasingly important with the present demographic development. In terms of lifelong learning, institutionalised continuing vocational training addresses the further development of individual qualifications as well as individual reorientation relative to the qualification. The development, recognition and certification of competences will become more and more important in future, as will new, non-formal learning. Continuing education encompasses the general, vocational and socio-political domains in equal measure. Their interactions are on the increase, particularly in view of the development and transfer of competences in the sense of lifelong further learning.
In response to the vast range of demands made on continuing education, a differentiated structure has been developed. Adult and continuing education institutions offer a variety of programmes, courses and subject areas covering general, vocational, political and continuing academic education. The aims, content and duration of courses vary accordingly.