Organized adult education activities can be traced back to colonial experience in the United States and Canada, but the awareness of adult education as a field of professional practice usually is dated with the founding of the American Association for Adult Education in 1926. By then, the characteristics of adult education, some of which are peculiarly American, and all of which affect professional practice, had become firmly established. Long (1983) discusses five characteristics that capture, to some extent, the nature of adult education in the United States. Historically, adult education has been (i) creative in meeting the needs of its clientele, (ii) pragmatic in that most adult learners participate for some specific reason and wish to immediately apply new knowledge or skills, (iii) voluntary, that is directly dependent upon an adult’s free choice to enroll and continue in a learning experience, (iv) pluralistic in the audiences served, in the delivery systems of adult education, and in the philosophical orientations, and (v) dynamic, for adult education responds to change by developing innovative practices.