Michael Grahame Moore

Michael Grahame Moore

Hall of Fame Class of 2013

Michael Grahame Moore has devoted his professional life to the study and practice of adult and continuing education. He taught his first adult class in England in 1961. This was followed by seven years in rural East Africa. He earned his doctorate in adult education at University of Wisconsin-Madison and then served as assistant professor at the Coady International Institute in Antigonish, Canada; spent nine years at the British Open University; and served 26 years as professor of adult education at Pennsylvania State University.

Dr. Moore earned his first degree from the London School of Economics. During his early years in East Africa, he committed himself to adult education as a vehicle for economic, social, and community development in emerging economies and as a way to open opportunity to the otherwise deprived, a commitment that has directed his career of teaching, scholarship, and program development in more than 30 countries and in many international agencies.

Struggling to develop a methodology for educating adults in the African context of the 1960s, he joined an experiment that linked radio broadcasts and correspondence courses. At the University of Wisconsin, he undertook an analysis of such programs and in his doctoral dissertation presented a theory of what he referred to as “distance education,” first publicly presented at an international conference in 1972. Promoting the concept of distance education as a field of adult education became the focus of his career. He is now recognized worldwide for his success in advancing its study, scholarship, teaching, and practice.

Since publishing his first theoretical work in 1972 in the adult education journal Convergence, then subsequently in the Adult Education Association’s 1980 Handbook series, Dr. Moore’s career has been focused on a single goal: the establishment, development, and acceptance of distance education as a field of scholarly endeavor within the broad arena of adult and continuing education. In 1986, he founded the American Center for the Study of Distance Education, which became a focal point for research and scholarship in the field for the next decade. As evidence of his success, his theory of transactional distance has entered the research mainstream, providing the theoretical framework for at least 50 doctoral dissertations.

As practitioner, his achievements include one of the world’s first international, multicultural, and multilingual e-learning courses, taught in Penn State’s adult education program from 1987 to 1995, using audio, video, and computer conferencing technologies, with groups of students in three American cities, five in Europe, and four in Mexico. This project enabled students and trainers to invent techniques of designing online courses and facilitating interaction online.

Dr. Moore’s further achievements in international development include full-time service in the Human Development Group of the World Bank, with many overseas missions, most importantly to Republic of South Africa, Russia, and Ministry of Education in Brazil. In Brazil, he designed and implemented a continuing education program for some 27,000 unqualified teachers in 3,000 schools in the poorest regions of the country.