Theories Of Learning In Adulthood

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Theory and Research
Adulthood is a time of physical, mental, and emotional growth in which one gains social and professional experiences in daily interactions. An adult learner in the classroom can be challenging, as they become another sub-demographic of needs to be met in a traditional or online course room. The needs of an adult leaner was first articulated through Malcolm Knowles’(1968) andragogy; the art and science of helping adults learn (Merriam, Caffarella, and Baumgartner, 2007, p. 84). Chapter four of Learning in Adulthood provides a wonderful framework of Knowle’s (1968) andragogy and other models of adult learning. The transformation of pedagogy, helping children learn, to andragogy, helping adults learn, is instrumental in
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Its effect means that learning models have to match the necessity of the adult learner to feel connected with content and inclusive to the learning process (2014). Chen (2014) interviews 10 adult learners who are enrolled in an American University tailored to the nontraditional student. The purpose of his research was to examine the learning experiences of those students in a psychology course built on adult learning principles. He summarizes core principles of adult learning: 1) adults learners are self-directed, 2) learning is transformative, and 3) adult learners are reflection practitioners. His findings showed that through personal reflection, the material became meaningful to the participants which caused a shift in their way of thinking and to deal with conflictive emotions. It confirms the significance of reflection in the adult learner, but also illustrates Mezirow’s (1978) theory of transformative learning. This connection is often illustrated within maturity of self-directedness of the adult learner; thus, requiring the instructor not to hold knowledge hostage but rather release it in a facilitative …show more content…
Often times, these experiences are habitual in nature that creates meaning of the world around them. Mezirow’s theory of transformative learning (1978), challenges that psyche. There are four components of transformative learning: experience, critical reflection, reflective discourse and action (Merriam et al., 2007, p. 134). From a psychodevelopmental lens, the outcome of transformative learning is when there is a “shift” in how one perceives themselves and makes sense of the world around them (Hoggan, 2016, p. 61). The learning outcomes of transformative learning are centered on improving adults to deal with social issues or daily living. Hoggan (2016) strives to protect the authenticity of the theory by presenting transformative learning as a metatheory: psychocritical approach (habits of mind), psychoanalytical approach (conscious and unconscious awareness), psychodevelopmental approach (increased in cognitive capacity), and social emancipatory approach (critical consciousness). Thus, perspective transformation should be used in direct reference to Mezirow’s

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