What Are the Characteristics of Adults and Young People as Learners

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1.1 Unit Adults and young people as learners

What are the characteristics of adult and young people as learners?

There is no single definition of an adult learner. However, an adult learner is a person that is 21 years and up who is involved in formal and informal learning. Generally in the United Kingdom, an adult is anyone over the age of 18 years of age; however, the term adult learner implies that the individual has not necessarily recently finished mainstream education.

Remember:
Learning is the lifelong process of transforming information and experience into knowledge, skills, behaviours and attitudes.

Behaviourist theory
Giving feedback, whether positive or negative, enables the learner to behave in a certain way. Skinner (1974) believed that behaviour is a function of its consequences. The learner will repeat the desired behaviour if positive reinforcement follows. If negative feedback is given, the behaviour should not be repeated. In the context of basic skills teaching, a learner who lacks self-esteem, confidence or motivation, might benefit from this theory as positive feedback would make them feel more confident and valued as a learner. Motivation might come from a more tangible as a certificate of achievement or promotion at work. However, negative feedback could make the learner fearful and unsure of their learning ability; “I can’t do this” behaviour might be displayed, making them disengage from the learning process. Humanist theory

This theory suggests that learning will take place if the person delivering it acts like a facilitator. They should establish an atmosphere in which learners feel comfortable and able to discuss new ideas, if they do not feel threatened by external factors. Rogers (1983), along with others, developed a theory of facilitative learning, based upon a belief that people have a natural eagerness to learn and that learning involves changing your own concept of yourself. In principal, this theory may work...
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