Learning as an adult is usually a challenge to the learner and also to the educator. The environment where by the adult learns new idea and information thus becomes a challenge. Since an adult has a developed brain he questions the information received and how that information is relevant to him or her. This being the case the learning style of an adult significantly differs from that of a child. On the other hand the educator to an adult would also be expected to use education style that would fit with the adult. Adult learning (andragogy) thus differs significantly with pedagogy.
Learning styles in the adult
Adults have different interests and abilities than those in the child. Initially it was thought that pedagogy was the foundation of all learning but research has shown that adult can also be assisted to learn (Merriam, Caffarella, & Baumgartner, 2007). How ever adult learning is challenging since the adult have to understand and critically question information and experience received.
In adult education some aspects are necessary and should be addressed. The forces driving the adult to seek knowledge play a major role in his or her learning. An adult seeking education may have reasons that create the need for knowledge such factors could be career advancement. As adults, these learners are less depended and self directed and thus they expect similar treatment from others (Merriam, Caffarella, & Baumgartner, 2007). Educators of adult learners should engage them in a mutual respect form of education. Adult learners usually have experience from outside. This life experience has a lot of significance on how the learners receive information. The experience also makes the learner to be critical on the information received (Knowles, Holton, & Swanson, 1998).
The adult learner is ready and motivated to learn information that is relevant to his life his career or something that really move him or her (King, 2005). Thus motivation plays a major role an adult learner would receive information. Unlike in pedagogy, the motivation to learning in an adult is usually derived from internal desire and thus it makes the adult learner to be more cooperative to the educator.
As an adult an adult learner have learnt way of interpreting information from the society he has been living in. But as human we have the quest for understanding the meaning of our experiences. Adult learning thus help the individual to develop autonomous understanding of the meaning of their experiences. In the progress in life an adult redefines and reformulate the meaning of their experience based on the new knowledge and understanding. Adult learning thus has a transformative nature where by the adult learner perspectives are transformed by the new meaning developed through learning (King, 2005). The meaning of concepts and ideas may change as the individual add and integrate new ideas. The transformation is usually progressive through learning
Learning is a continuous thing in an adult. As an adult develop from on stage of life to another he is met with a dilemma on how he define and understands some aspects of his life. Met with this dilemma or various life crises the adult seek a meaning and a definition that fit at that stage of life (King, 2005). The transformative learning should be used in adult education with consideration that the adult usually has his or her own definition and perspective. Adult learning, thus entail breaking down previous definition and meaning to new ones.
Unlike child education, the experiences of the adult and the developed intelligence play a major role in the structure of the learning system. Depending on the individual adult learner the teaching techniques should be applied selectively.
Merriam, Caffarella, Baumgartner (2007). Learning in adulthood:-A comprehensive guide (3rd
ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass:- pp 64-98
Knowles, Holton, Swanson, (1998):- The adult learner: The definitive classic in adult education
and human resources development. Houston, TX: Gulf Publishing Company.
King, (2005):-Bringing transformative learning to life. Malabar, FL: Krieger Publishing:-pp54-89;
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