Adult educators must produce learning environments in which all learners can feel they are accomplishing something or benefiting some how. The types of benefits and interpretation of accomplishment can vary depending on a person's socio-economic background, culture, and situation in life, age or a variety of other variables.
Whether or not a learning experience is successful will depend on the adult educator's ability to understand the differences in people. Equally important is the personal experiences the educator has with a variety of participants and their characteristics. No one theory will fit every learning situation. There is an exception to every rule. There are, however, two theories that I feel closely supports my line of reasoning.
First is Knowles' theory of andragogy.
Andragogy makes the following assumptions about the design of learning: (1) Adults need to know why they need to learn something (2) Adults need to learn experientially, (3) Adults approach learning as problem-solving, and (4) Adults learn best when the topic is of immediate value (Knowles, 1984). Knowles endeavored to develop a theory that was specific to adult learning. Knowles emphasizes that adults are self-directed and expect to...