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Adult development theory


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Adult Development Theory in relation to learning at the community college level.

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Adult development theory

  1. 1. Adult Development Theory The research , theories, & implications for our student population.
  2. 2. Andragogy: The art and science of helping adults learn Adults... • need to know why they need to learn something • learn through experience • approach learning as problem-solving • learn best when the topic is of immediate value • have mutual vested interest in their learning and want to involve real experience
  3. 3. 4 Dominating Theories 1. William Perry Model of Intellectual and Ethical Development 2. Women’s Ways of Knowing (Belenky et al.) 3. Reflective Judgment (Kitchener & King) 4. Knowing and Reasoning in College (Baxter- Magolda)
  4. 4. Th e Perry Model • Perry’s model reflects the relationship between cognitive and affective components. • He believes that the most powerful learning involves qualitative changes in the way learners approach their learning and subject matter. • There are four major categories:
  5. 5. Dualism & Multiplicity Position s 1 -4 Dualism Multiplicity 1 2 3 4 Nature of Knowledge • One source • Unquestioned • No tolerance for alternative viewpoints • Different perspectives and beliefs acknowledged, but are wrong • Knowledge is not yet known, but is knowable, and determined later • Right & wrong ways for processes Truth • Absolute • Black & White • We-Right-Good vs. They- Wrong-Bad • Uncertain • Right, Wrong, & Unknown • “We’ll never know for sure.” • “Do your own thing.” “Anything goes.”
  6. 6. Contextual Relativism & Commitment with in Relativism Positions 5 & Beyond Contextual Relativism Commitment within Relativism 5 6-9 Nature of Knowledge • The self is an active maker of meaning • Moves from intellectual to ethical and is always changing Truth • Relativistic and context bound with a few right/wrong exceptions • Decides at the moment of alternatives after experiencing doubt & then reflects on one’s beliefs
  7. 7. Implications of Perry Model Learners cycle through 3 perspectives: 1. There are multiple opinions 2. There are multiple contexts/perspectives to understand and analyze 3. There are multiple commitments through which one identifies his or her values and identity The role of the student moves from a passive receptor of facts to an active agent in defining arguments and creating new knowledge.
  8. 8. Women ’s Ways of Knowing • This model focuses on five types of knowing from which women place themselves and approach the world. • Researchers noticed that the way women think about education and learning also affects their self-perception.
  9. 9. Silence • Words viewed as weapons • Blind obedience to authorities • Ways of knowing are limited to the present, the actual, the concrete, the specific and to actual behaviors • The development of voice, mind, and self are connected
  10. 10. Received & Subjective Knowledge Received Subjective Internal Factors • Confused when asked to do original work • Grade should be determined by effort • Distrust logic, analysis, abstraction Self-Knowledge • Worry that development of self-knowledge is at the expense of others • Inoffensive: “It’s just my opinion.” Fear that having an opinion and supporting it will jeopardize connections with others Truth & Knowledge • Authorities • Intuitive • Comes with firsthand knowledge listen and watch to learn
  11. 11. Procedural & Constructed Knowledge Procedural Constructed Connected Knowing Separate Knowing Internal Factors • Seek to empathize • Understand through sharing experiences • Relationships not on the line • Separation from feelings & emotions • Open heart and mind to embrace the world • Establish communion Self-Knowledge • Impersonal creates discomfort • Subjective to the knowing of others • Narrative sense of self • Tolerance for internal contradiction and ambiguity Truth & Knowledge • Comes from careful observation and analysis • Everyone can have it right or everyone can be wrong • Experts are only as good as their arguments • Can be integrated from many sources • Is relative • Is always under scrutiny (question, examine, analyze)
  12. 12. Implications of Women’s Ways of Knowing • Juxtapose with Perry’s Model (men vs. women) • Movement from depending on knowledge from someone else to co-construction of knowledge • Men-”know” and “see” vs. Women-”hear” and “speak”
  13. 13. Reflective Judgment • Examine, evaluate, construct solutions, are open to evaluation and scrutiny • Seven stages on assumptions and knowledge • Progress determined by acquiring skills, development of the skills, and learning environment
  14. 14. Pre-Reflective Thinking Stages 1, 2, & 3 Stage 1 Stage 2 Stage 3 View of Knowledge • Absolute and concrete • Acquired by direct observation • Absolute • Certain but not available • Acquired through the senses • Acquired through authority • Absolutely certain or temporary • Personal beliefs known once absolute knowledge is obtained • Acquired through authority Concept of Justification • Beliefs don’t need justified • Alternate beliefs don’t exist • Beliefs are unquestioned • Justified only by authority • Issues always have right answer so there is no conflict with making decisions • Beliefs justified by authorities’ view • Beliefs defended based on opinion since evidence is unclear
  15. 15. Quasi-Reflective Thinking Stages 4 & 5 Stage 4 Stage 5 View of Knowledge • Uncertain and specific to the individual • Contextual and subjective Concept of Justification • Beliefs are justified by reason and evidence • Reasons and evidence are subjective • Beliefs justified within context • Beliefs are context-specific and balanced against other interpretations
  16. 16. Reflective Thinking Stages 6 & 7 Stage 6 Stage 7 View of Knowledge • Constructed by the individual based on multiple sources • Interpretations based on evidence and evaluation • Outcome of a process of inquiry • Adequacy is evaluated based on current research and can be reevaluated Concept of Justification • Beliefs are justified by comparing evidence and opinions and constructing solutions evaluated based on evidence • Beliefs are justified by variety of interpretive factors. • Beliefs are defended based on the most “complete, plausible, or compelling understanding”
  17. 17. Implication s of Reflective Model • Movement of absolute truths and knowledge from authority to independent, constructed, and contextual knowledge. • Depending on the dichotomy in the classroom, reflective judgment might take time to develop.
  18. 18. Knowing and Reasoning in College • The first qualitative study that simultaneously studied men and women and their beliefs on knowing and learning • There are Four stages:
  19. 19. Absolute and Transitional Absolute Knowing Transitional Knowing Nature of knowledge • Certain and absolute • Partially certain & absolute Role of learner • Gets knowledge from instructor • Comprehends knowledge Role of peers • Share materials and explain what they’ve learned • Active exchange of ideas Role of instructor • Communicates knowledge and makes sure students understand • Uses teaching methods to help students understand and apply knowledge
  20. 20. Independent & Contextual Knowledge Independent Knowing Contextual Knowing Nature of Knowledge • Uncertain and subjective • Context-based and evidence-based Role of Learner • Thinks for self • Shares views with others • Creates own perspective • Exchanges & compares perspectives • Integrates & applies knowledge Role of Peers • Shares views • Source of knowledge • Intelligently contributes to learning Role of Instructor • Promotes independent thinking • Promotes application of knowledge in context • Open to critique from student
  21. 21. Implications of Ways of Knowing • Most college freshman enter at an Absolute stage and exit senior year somewhere in between Independent and Contextual • This study does not take into account cultural ways of knowing
  22. 22. Comparing All Methods & Models Truth & Knowledge Passive Receptor 1. Dualism 2. Receiving Pattern 3. Pre-reflective Stages 1-3 4. Absolute Uncertain 1. Multiplicity 2. Subjective Knowledge 3. Pre-reflective Stage 4 4. Transitional Independent • Contextual Relativism • Procedural Knowledge • Pre-reflective Stages 5 & 6 • Independent Share, Exchange, Relative • Commitment within Relativism • Constructed Knowledge • Pre-reflective Stage 7 • Contextual
  23. 23. References • Afrasiabi, Robin [Word document]. King and Kitchener Packet. Retrieved from the California State University, Fullerton, Reading 505: Foundations of Postsecondary Reading and Learning blackboard web site: • Afrasiabi, Robin [Word document]. Adult Development Theories. Retrieved from the California State University, Fullerton, Reading 505: Foundations of Postsecondary Reading and Learning blackboard web site: • Baxter-Magolda, M.B. (1992). Knowing and reasoning in college: Gender-related patterns in students intellectual development. San Fancisco, CA: Jossey-Bass • Moore, W.S. (2003). Perry Network & Center for the Study of Development of Intellectual Development. Retrieved from
  24. 24. CREATIVE COMMONS ATTRIBUTION Unless otherwise specified, this work by the Colorado Community College System is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. The material was created with funds from the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) Grant awarded to the Colorado Online Energy Training Consortium (COETC).