Adult Learning Essay 2

3816 Words Jun 16th, 2010 16 Pages
Research Paper: Adult Learning

Education beyond high school, even beyond a Bachelors degree is a critical requirement to obtain a decent rewarding employment in today’s society. However, many individuals do not graduate high school or college for many reasons: unexpected pregnancies, lack of family support, need of financial aid, etc. These individuals who return to some kind of higher education later in life are known as adult learners, or the non-traditional students. Adult learners over age 24 currently comprise about 44 percent of U.S. postsecondary students. (Kahiz, 2007) These individuals make up a group of students who differ from traditional students. An adult learner possesses any of the following criteria: married or
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There are four areas of adult learning, self-directed learning, critical reflection, experiential learning, and learning to learn (Brookfield, 1999). First, self-directed learning focuses on the process by which adults take control of their own learning, in particular how they set their own learning goals, locate appropriate resources, decide on which learning methods to use and evaluate their progress. Second, adult’s developmental psychology, where a host of constructs such as embedded logic, dialectical thinking, working intelligence, reflective judgment, post-formal reasoning and epistemic cognition describe how adults come to think contextually and critically. Third, the gradual accumulation of experience across the contexts of life is often argued as the chief difference between learning in adulthood and learning at earlier stages in the lifespan. Finally, the ability of adults to learn how to learn, they become skilled at learning in a range of different situations and through a range of different styles; this has often been proposed as an overarching purpose for those educators who work with adults. Many who did not continue their education straight out of high school experience different obstacles when they finally are enrolled in any higher education course. Brookfield (1995) mentions five significant themes adult learners' experience while learning. These themes stand out for two reasons;

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