Benchmarks and Goal Settings for the Adult Learner
Veronica L. Barrett
November 12, 2011
Benchmarks and Goal Setting for the Adult Learner
To achieve anything in life, one has to set goals. Research has shown that successful people have clear, focused goals and have worked diligently to achieve them. Setting goals allows the learner to identify specific skills and knowledge that are expected for a particular subject. Goals must be achievable and measureable. It does no good to set a goal that cannot be attained. Unattainable goals lead to frustration and hopelessness. Goals should also not be too easy to attain. One must do some work to attain his goal. Goals must not be so far out of reach as to be unattainable or too easy that not much effort is required to attain it. Benchmarks are guidelines that allow the adult learner a starting point to build on prior knowledge and to measure the progress of their objectives or goals. It is of paramount importance that the adult learner is taught the benefits of setting achievable goals and in the process develop the skill of self-directed learning. According to Knowles (1975) self directed learning “is a process in which individuals take the initiative, with or without the help of others, in diagnosing their learning needs, formulating learning goals, identifying human and material resources, choosing and implementing learning strategies, and evaluating learning outcomes” (pg. 18). (Dynan, Cate, & Rhee, 2008). According to EFF Hot Topics (Spring, 2001), the four purposes of learning for adult students are: a. to gain access to information and resources so they can orient themselves in the world;
b. to give voice to their ideas and opinions with the confidence that they will be heard and taken into account;
c. to solve problems and make decisions on their own, acting independently, as parents, citizens, and workers, for the good of their families, their...
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EFF frames the goal setting process. (Spring, 2001). EFF Hot Topics, 1(1) National Institute for Literacy, Washington, D.C.
Pintarich, K. (2011). Developing goals. The Adult Student’s Guide to Survival and Success. Retrieved from www.adultstudent.com/student/goals.html 11/7/2011
Rader, L.A., (Jan/Feb 2005). Goal setting for students and teachers: Six steps to success. The Clearing House, 78(3) 123-126.
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