adult education theory
Self-directed learning. This approach acknowledges that the majority of the learning that adults do is outside the context of formal training, and so the emphasis is on augmenting those informal learning experiences. This can be through providing content, helping individuals plan their learning, or evaluating learning experiences after the fact.
Remember, how adults learn on their own is very different from the ways children learn in a classroom. How do we leverage adults’ eagerness to learn relevant material, their need to connect with experience, and the overall goal of transformative change?
As a child your brain is like a sponge it absorbs so much information at a time so its easier to learn new things. As an adult it’s a little bit more difficult to learn a new skill, trade, or sometimes maybe even a language. Adult learning theory gives a direct insight on how to probe and play on an adult’s strengths when it comes to learner. This theory is designed for all adults not just one specific group, if used properly adult learning could be the new sponge.
As adults, we want what we are learning to be actually applicable to our everyday lives, instead of being general learning about a subject. We want to learn practical skills that help us solve problems and work better.
Adult learning is simply a situation where adults are pursuing education. This can be done in a formal setting in higher education, trade school, or apprenticeship. This can also be done for adults who simply want to learn a skill and pursue education in order to learn that skill. There are many techniques and theories about how to effectively educate adults specifically, making adult learning an important point of study for many experts. Children and adults are very different when it comes to how they learn, so different techniques must be used in order to make learning effective for adults.
Adult learning can be difficult for many reasons including:
- Instructional designers should first diagnose their learning needs. This means that instructional designers need to understand what the learners need to know.
- Instructional designers should formulate the learning needs. In other words, learning objectives should be written out to clarify precisely what the learner will be learning.
- The next thing to do is to identify the available resources. This will either restrict or promote specific learning strategies.
- Choosing and implementing the correct learning strategies can be tricky. Instructional designers need to make sure the learning strategies apply to the learning objectives.
- To ensure that all the learning objectives have been met, instructional designers need to evaluate the outcomes of the course . Were the learners able to apply everything they learned?
The model proposed by Knowles incorporates the assumptions and into a pragmatic approach for learning design to cultivate self-directed learning.
Some of Knowles’ concepts of andragogy are generally accepted. Others are disputed because they overlap with pedagogy. Further research has shown that childhood to adult learning is a spectrum. Some kids are precocious and some adults are immature where online training is concerned. That said, Knowles’ adult learning theory states adults have a developed sense of self, prior experience, practical reasons for learning. They’re ready to learn and internally motivated. As a result, their online training programs should be self-directed, relevant, contextual, and task-based. They should be less theoretical and more hands-on.
A core principle of the adult learning theory is that online learners must be actively involved in the process so that they’re empowered and motivated. They should play a part in developing eLearning content, evaluating performance, and creating training criteria. Conduct surveys to get their feedback, then invite them to sit through a test course to identify gaps. They should also be able to personalize their learning paths and choose eLearning activities that are relevant to them and their job duties. Namely, resources that allow them to immediately apply what they’ve learned and address individual pain points.