What is adult learning?Merriam & Brockett (1997) describe adult learningthrough education as “… activities intentionallydesigned for the purpose of bringing about learningamong those whose age, social roles, or self-perception define them as adults.” (p. 7)There are many other definitions for adult learning,since it is such a broad term. We will use thedefinition above for this presentation.
Another Definition for Adult Learning"Education is life--not a mere preparation for an unknownkind of future living…The whole of life is learning;therefore, education can have no ending. This newventure is called adult education--not because it isconfined to adults but because adulthood, maturitydefines its limits.” (Linedman, 1926)A person should aspire to be a life-long learner. Thisdefinition explains that learning should not stop with adegree or certificate, but should continue throughout life.
Adult Learning TheoriesTheories that have been researched to produce effective adult learning.
Experiential Learning TheoryAdult learners create knowledge from experiencerather than being told or lectured about a topic.The basic concept behind this theory is that adultlearners will learn by doing (Avery Bergsteiner, &Nueman, 2010).
Action Learning TheoryThe action learning theory places the learners onteams and has them work on a real-life projects.A learning coach is available to each team to helpguide the team and provide needed assistance (O’Neil& Lamm, 2000).
Project-Based Learning TheoryAdult learners work in groups to solve authentic,real-world problems.The teachers purpose is facilitate the learning andnot provide specific instructions for the students(Conlan, Grabowski, & Smith, 2003).This is different than the action learning theory, inthat the action learning theory has adult learnersworking on projects that directly relate to theiremployment.
Self-Directed Learning TheoryThis is similar to informal learning, as the adultlearners will take on the responsibility of thelearning process and set their own goals.Many times, the learners will be presented withresources to help guide them in the learning process.Motivation must be present in the learners for self-directed learning to be successful (Conlan,Grabowski, & Smith, 2003).
ReferencesAvery, G., Bergsteiner, H., & Neumann, R., (2010). Kolb’s experiential learning model: Critique from a modeling perspective. Studies in Continuing Education,32, 29 – 46.Conlan, J., Grabowski, S., & Smith, K.. (2003). Adult Learning. In M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved from http://projects.coe.uga.edu/epltt/Lindeman, E. (1926). The Meaning of Adult Education. New York: New Republic, 6.Merriam, S. & Brockett, R. (1997) The Profession and Practice of Adult Education. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.ONeil, J. & Lamm, S.L. (2000). Working as a learning coach team in action learning. New Directions for Adult & Continuing Education, 87, 43-52.
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