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The Differences Between Adult Education and Traditional Undergraduate Education. Dr. Tom Phelan, President Strategic Teaching Associates, Inc. Associate Professor, American Public University System Instructor, Elmira College. Areas of Differences. Experience Maturity

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the differences between adult education and traditional undergraduate education

The Differences Between Adult Education and Traditional Undergraduate Education

Dr. Tom Phelan, President

Strategic Teaching Associates, Inc.

Associate Professor,

American Public University System


Elmira College

areas of differences
Areas of Differences
  • Experience
  • Maturity
  • Classroom Management
  • Attendance/Schedules
  • Full time/ Part time
  • Daytime/ Evening
  • Networking
  • Technology
  • Traditional Undergrads
    • Limited
      • Work
      • Travel
      • Research
      • Self-Direction
    • Broad
      • Technology
      • Flexibility
      • Classroom
  • Adult Learners
    • Limited
      • Time
      • Technology
      • Research
      • APA/MLA
    • Broad
      • Work
      • Travel
      • Interpersonal
      • Historical Perspective
  • Traditional Undergrads
    • Age (26 average in community colleges)
    • 18 – 22 (most colleges) Born 1992
    • Socially varied – most unmarried
    • Diverse
    • Technologically mature
    • High Tolerance
  • Adult Learners
    • Ages to 65+
    • Many married with children
    • Diverse
    • Self-directed
    • Technologically immature
    • Lower Tolerance
classroom management
Classroom Management
  • Traditional Undergrads
    • Attendance Problems
    • Instant Messaging
    • Accustomed to Groups
    • Brick & Mortar
    • Grade Conscious
    • Blackboard/Angel
    • Time Management
  • Adult Learners
    • Work/School Schedule Conflicts
    • Discussion-oriented
    • Group work averse
    • More frequent breaks
    • Furniture /comfort
    • Presentation focused
    • Desire to share
attendance schedules
  • Traditional Undergrads
    • Fixed, five day week
    • Daytime hours
    • Not too early
    • Not Friday afternoon
    • Conflicts
      • Sports
      • Special Events
      • Other classes
  • Adult Learners
    • Evenings/weekends
    • On line
    • Conflicts
      • Work travel
      • Family
      • Access to Library
      • Group meetings
      • Fixed Exam Schedule
daytime evening any time
Daytime/Evening/Any Time
  • Traditional Undergrads
    • Daytime
    • Five days/ week
  • Adult Learners
    • Evening or late afternoon
    • Weekends
    • On line/ any time
  • Traditional Undergrads
    • New Concept
    • Social Networking vs. Career Networks
    • Finding Contacts
    • Internet focus
    • Friends
    • Lack of Sources
  • Adult Learners
    • Work related
    • Associations
    • Business Meetings
    • Conferences
    • Client focused
    • References
  • Traditional Undergrads
    • Latest Innovation
      • Laptop
      • Cell (iphone)
      • Blackberry
    • e-books
    • Internet Searches
    • Electronic/Digital
      • .docx
      • Open Office
      • Skype
    • Poor Contingency Plans
  • Adult Learners
    • Traditional
      • Library
      • Print Media
    • Internet Explorer
    • Go To Meetings
    • Webinars
    • Word.doc
    • Hand-holding
    • Paper Backups
not your father s classroom
Not your Father’s Classroom
  • CyrileHoule
  • Benjamin Bloom
  • Malcolm Knowles
  • Allen Tough
  • Alexander Charters
  • Roger Hiemstra
  • Tom Phelan
the inquiring mind
The Inquiring Mind
  • The Inquiring Mind: A Study of the Adult Who Continues To Learn by Cyril Houle
  • More people continue their education from the late 20s until age 50 than at any other time;
  • The higher the formal education of the adult, the more likely it is that he or she will take part in continuing education;
  • Learners were usually readily discerned as such by their friends;
  • For the learning oriented, education was an almost constant rather than occasional activity;
  • Enrollment in formal education is largely vocational in nature;
  • Some learners attend educational classes for the activity itself and the social opportunities the educational setting provides; and
  • Influences on learning included family background, teachers and schools, public libraries, occupations, and the examples of friends--but how these influences worked were varied.
  • 1960
bloom s taxonomy
Bloom’s Taxonomy
  • Cognitive Domain
    • Knowledge
    • Comprehension
    • Application
    • Analysis
    • Synthesis
    • Judgment*
  • 1956
bloom s little known domain
Bloom’s Little Known Domain
  • Affective Domain
    • Receiving
    • Responding
    • Balancing
    • Organizing
    • Internalizing Values
pedagogy to andragogy
Pedagogy to Andragogy
  • The Modern Practice of Adult Education; Andragogy versus Pedagogy by Malcolm Knowles (what year?)
  • This book is a guided inquiry into the newly emerging technology of adult education based on an original theory of andragogy (the art and science of helping adults learn) as distinguished from pedagogy (teaching children and youth).
  • Its central thesis is that adults in certain crucial respects are different from young people as learners, and that a different approach is needed.
  • 1970
alexander charters
Alexander Charters

“The third stage of Adult Education into which the

world is now moving . . . might be called the knowledge-

based stage. It is not to consider knowledge as

a product but knowledge as the basis for knowing.

Knowledge encompasses all aspects of learning, and it

behooves all adults to continue to learn in areas and at

levels appropriate for them.”

Dr. Alexander Charters,

8 September 1996

jost reischmann on andragogy
JostReischmann on Andragogy

roger hiemstra
Roger Hiemstra
  • Perseverence - staying with the process of being a better professional; learning to do better as you grow and develop as an experienced educator of adults
  • Pride - pride in yourself, pride in your profession; this includes learning to love yourself and recognize the personal attributes you have; it also may need to include reading personal development books
  • Patience - with yourself, with learners; remember that something like becoming a highly proficient and skilled self-directed learner takes time
  • Patterns for success - there are existing models for teaching or training adults that work; individualizing the instructional process, self-directed learning, etc. are some of them; find a mentor that understands these various patterns or models and seek guidance
  • Persnickety - become more organized and disciplined in what you do; depending on your personality style, this may take lots of effort, but it is worth it
hiemstra cont d
Hiemstra, cont’d.
  • Preparation/preparedness - do your homework, practice everything before you do it, refuse to "wing" it when you are working with adult learners
  • Personal philosophy - develop a personal philosophy statement, statement of personal ethics, and/or a personal statement of professional commitment that will serve as the foundation for what you do in the future
  • Presentation skill development - continuously work on developing your platform skills; seek feedback, obtain evaluations, video tape yourself, etc.
  • Professionalism - develop your professional writing skills, join and participate in a professional association, contribute to your profession in various ways, understand professional standards that apply to you, develop a personal portfolio
  • Potentiality - strive to live up to the potential that is within you; I truly believe there is a greatness in each of us that only remains to be unlocked, to be developed; you can do it!!!

tom phelan
Tom Phelan
  • Adults learn best when having fun
  • Storytelling as a teaching method
  • Self-Direction in Adult Learning
  • Provide opportunity for sharing experience
  • Reinforce basic skills
  • Explore new and effective technology
  • Use the liberal arts approach
  • Grading – Don’t punish adults for learning
thank you
Thank You!

6385 Willson Road

Vernon Center, NY 13477

(315) 829-4199

Dr. Tom Phelan