Adult Learning Theory - Essay

Topics: Learning, Education, Psychology Pages: 4 (1199 words) Published: May 22, 2012
Adult Learning Theory
Are people too stubborn and independent to learn once they become adults? The Adult Learning Theory focuses on the difference between how adults learn and how children learn. There are three main central ideas that support the Adult Learning Theory. These ideas or theories are known as andragogy, self-directed learning, and transformational learning. Andragogy is the teaching of adults, self-directed learning is the individual controlling their learning, and transformational learning is the individual learning from life experiences.

The term andragogy was first used in 1833 by Alexander Kapp, but Malcolm Knowles was the first person to theorize it. Andragogy focuses more on the learner instead of the teacher. For example, instead of a teacher trying to decide what to teach and how to teach it, they should ask the adults what they want. According to Deb Peterson, “Adults learn best when they have control over their learning.” There are six core principles that we focus on in andragogy. They are the learner's need to know, self-directed learning, prior experience of the learner, readiness to learn, orientation to learning and problem solving, and motivation to learn. First, In order to help adults learn, they need to know what to learn, the reason they need to learn it, and how it will help them. Secondly, they need to control their own learning. Adults need to guide themselves and take complete responsibility to where it leads them. Next, adults need to take their experiences and incorporate it into their learning. Adults are more knowledgeable than children, because they have been around longer and have seen and learned more from their life experiences. Therefore, when adults have teachers, they feel inferior which makes them unwilling to learn. By acknowledging their wisdom and knowledge, adults learn better. Fourthly, adults are always eager to learn if it helps with real life situations. For example, a single mother of three is very...
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