Reflections and Advancements of the Adult Learning Theory and How It Can Be Applied Essay

Reflections and advancements of the Adult Learning Theory and how it can be applied Joshua Thomas 11/30/12 INFT 101 LIBERTY UNIVERSITY Summary In this piece there will be two articles summarized . The main points of both articles will be addressed and presented. In ADULT LEARNING THEORY: APPLICATIONS TO NON-TRADITIONAL COLLEGE STUDENTS (Kenner, Cari; Wienerman, Jason) Journal of College Reading and Learning; Spring 2011; 41, 2; ProQuest Central pg. 87 ;The authors present ways to best understand and teach entry level adult learners (Kenner, Cari; Wienerman, Jason Pg. 87) who are non-traditional college students.

They are between the ages of 25 and 50, and share other similarities such as: being independent, being financially stable, and having a full time job. The article goes on to give us a brief history of adult learning theory and how the term andragogy came about. The article tells us that in the 1950’s and 1960’s organizational development teams came up with new models to teach adults. (Kenner, Cari; Wienerman, Jason) There are four principles that characterize adult learners: A. they are self-directed, take responsibility for their own actions, and resist having information arbitrarily imposed on them.

B. They have an extensive depth of experience, which serves as a critical component in the foundation of their self-identity. C. They are ready to learn. As most adult learners return to college voluntarily, they are likely to actively engage in the learning process. D. They are task motivated, adult students returning to college attend for a specific goal and the primary component of their motivational drive tends to be internal. (Knowles, 1984) The article next gives us adult learning strategies and presents us with three different metacognitive frameworks.

A metacognitive framework in layman terms is simply our learning process. The article gives us three metacognitive frameworks; they are tacit theory, informal theory, and formal theory. (Kenner, Cari; Wienerman, Jason)A definition to formal theory is not given and is described as “rare and only found within the higher realms of academic expertise” (Kenner, Cari; Wienerman, Jason Pg. 87) Tacit theory states that we adopt our learning methodologies from our peers, our educators, and the local culture. Informal theory is described as “possessing some recognition of metacognition. (Kenner, Cari; Wienerman, Jason Pg. 87)In informal Theory we still gain knowledge and learn from our peers over time but still think about the learning process and how it can better suit our individual needs. The next part of the article gives us ways in which the above mentioned theories are put into practice such as, using textbooks from other courses, indicating that learning tools are not exclusive and can be adapted to suit them as an individual, and providing an in depth syllabus which will help the goal oriented student obtain a measure of what they have accomplished.

In conclusion the main points of this article describe who the adult learner is, different theories for reaching the adult learner, and useful methods for teaching the adult learner. The adult learning theory is central to this article in that the entire article explains what the adult learning theory is and explains how it can be applied. In Adult Learning Theory for the twenty first century by Sharan B. Merriam The article gives us” a snapshot as to recent developments in understanding and theorizing adult Learning” (Sharan B.

Merriam pg. 93) The article gives us examples of how recent advances in research tell us that learning is a “multi-dimensional phenomenon “(Sharan B. Merriam pg. 95) what the author of this work is portraying is that we learn not only through cognitive means but by different life experiences and how we interpret them. The article states that there is not a single definition of the adult learning theory and is dynamic in nature ever evolving to match the needs of the adult learner.

The article says that we learn through narratives or stories and that our brains function by attaching what we learn with some sort of meaningful event in our lives. A more holistic approach to learning is what the author suggests to be incorporated in the adult learning theory, meaning that we learn with our entire being. We learn with all of our complex systems whether they be emotional, mental, or physical. We learn from everything that takes place in our lives. In conclusion the article gives different methodologies and theories as to what other cultures ave incorporated and what might work best for the adult learner. The author states that” we are beginning to recognize the value of incorporating more creative modes of inquiry into our practice. ”(Sharan B. Merriam pg. 98) The article says that the adult learning theory has a vast potential for exponential growth in terms of what can be learned through different means and to focus on our own mind, body, and spirit (Merriam) to expand our understanding. Reflection In both articles the authors present different frameworks or methodologies for Learning.

We will discuss these theories and how they can be applied to the online adult learner. We will discuss how different methods of learning either in the classroom or online help us learn, and finally we will discuss how all of these theories and methodologies can be applied to meet our individual needs. We will begin with some learning frameworks. One of these frameworks is the informal theory framework; which basically says we learn from our peers, teachers, etc. and have a basic understanding of the learning process. Kenner, Cari; Wienerman, Jason) We can apply this theory directly because we draw from all of these sources every day. When we are given discussion board forums it is not only an opportunity to put out our ideas on whatever particular subject that we are working on but we can look at other posts and learn from our peers, This is an example of the informal learning theory. In Sharan B. Merriams’ article she states that we learn through different life experiences. We of course have learned through different experiences whether they have been academic in nature or having something physically happen to us.

We can apply this when we receive positive or negative feedback from our individual professors when we submit an assignment or as mentioned before on our group discussion forums. The detailed course syllabus creates a direct step-by-step description of how the class will proceed will be attractive to the goal oriented student. (Kenner, Cari; Wienerman, Jason),all of the online classes provided by Liberty University give a detailed course syllabus which helps us to not only stay on task but provides us with a sense of accomplishment when we finish an assignment.

In conclusion all of these different theories and frameworks work together to provide the best possible outcome for the adult learner. The online discussion forums help us learn from our peers while the different modules from week to week help us to break down large assignments and make them more manageable(Kenner,Cari;Wienerman,Jason) it seems as though the Adult Learning theory played a large role in the development of the coursework and implementation of the online learning program. We need only attend to our own mind, body, spirit, and emotions and the sociocultural and material contexts in which we ourselves learn to recognize the potential of this expanded vision for our adult learners. ”(Merriam pg. 98) We can directly apply this passage in our learning from Liberty University, not only does the course work help us use our minds in the learning process but the weekly addresses and sermons help us learn spiritually. Reference

Kenner, Cari; Weinerman, Jason (2011) ADULT LEARNING THEORY: APPLICATIONS TO NON-TRADITIONAL COLLEGE STUDENTS, Journal of college reading and learning; Spring 2011; 41, 2; ProQuest Central Pg. 87 Knowles, M. S. (1984) ANDRAGOGY IN ACTION. San Francisco, CA: Josey-Bass Publishers. Merriam Sharan (2008) NEW DIRECTIONS FOR ADULT AND CONTINUING EDUCATION, no. 119, Fall 2008 © 2008 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Published online in Wiley InterScience (www. interscience. wiley. com) • DOI: 10. 1002/ace. 309

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