Adult education principles and practices
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Adult Education Principles and Practices. Adult Learning is Life-long learning. Presentation Objectives. By the end of this presentation, you should be able to: describe the principles of adult learning; Explain what experiential learning; Describe the elements of adult learning.

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Adult education principles and practices

Adult Education Principles and Practices

Adult Learning is Life-long learning

Presentation objectives

Presentation Objectives

By the end of this presentation, you should be able to:

describe the principles of adult learning;

Explain what experiential learning;

Describe the elements of adult learning.

Characteristics of adult learning
Characteristics of Adult Learning

The field of adult learning was pioneered by Malcolm Knowles. He identified the following characteristics of adult learners:

Adults are autonomous and self-directed.

Adults should be challenged to move to increasingly advanced stages of personal development.

Adults are most interested in learning subjects that have immediate relevance to their job or personal life.

Characteristics of adult learning1
Characteristics of Adult Learning

Adults have accumulated a foundation of life experiences and knowledge that may include work-related activities, family responsibilities, and previous education.

Adult learning should capitalize on the experience of participants.

Adult learning is problem-centered rather than content-oriented.

Characteristics of adult learning2
Characteristics of Adult Learning

Adults are goal-oriented

Adults are relevancy-oriented.

Adults are practical, focusing on the aspects of a lesson most useful to them in their work.

Adults need to be involved in the planning and evaluation of their instruction.

 Experience (including mistakes) provides the basis for learning activities.

Motivating the adult learner
Motivating the Adult Learner

At least six factors serve as sources of motivation for adult learning:

Social relationships: to make new friends, to meet a need for associations and friendships.

External expectations: to comply with instructions from someone else; to fulfill the expectations or recommendations of someone with formal authority.

Social welfare: to improve ability to serve mankind, prepare for service to the community, and improve ability to participate in community work.

Motivating the adult learner1
Motivating the Adult Learner

Personal advancement: to achieve higher status in a job, secure professional advancement, and stay abreast of competitors.

Escape/Stimulation: to relieve boredom, provide a break in the routine of home or work, and provide a contrast to other exacting details of life.

Cognitive interest: to learn for the sake of learning, seek knowledge for its own sake, and to satisfy an inquiring mind.

Experiential learning
Experiential Learning

Rogers distinguished two types of learning: cognitive (objective) and experiential (significant) .

Experiential learning addresses the needs and wants of the learner.

The qualities of experiential learning are: personal involvement, self-initiated, evaluated by learner, and has pervasive effects on learner.

Experiential learning1
Experiential Learning

Experiential learning is integral to personal change and growth.

The role of the facilitator is to ensure such learning occurs. This includes:

  • setting a positive climate for learning;

  • clarifying the purposes of learning;

  • organizing and making learning resources available;

  • balancing intellectual and emotional components of learning;

  • sharing feelings and thoughts with learners but not dominating.

Experiential learning2
Experiential Learning

According to Rogers, learning is facilitated when:

  • the student participates completely in the learning process and has control over its nature and direction;

  • it is primarily based upon direct confrontation with practical, social, personal or research problems;

  • self-evaluation is the principal method of assessing progress or success.

    Rogers also emphasizes the importance of learning to learn and an openness to change.

Experiential learning3
Experiential Learning

Significant learning takes place when the subject matter is relevant to the personal interests of the student .

Learning which is threatening to the self (e.g., new attitudes or perspectives) are more easily assimilated when external threats are at a minimum .

Learning proceeds faster when the threat to the self is low .

Self-initiated learning is the most lasting and pervasive.

Adults will commit to learning when the goals and objectives are considered realistic and important to them. Application in the 'real world' is important and relevant to the adult learner's personal and professional needs.

Experiential learning4
Experiential Learning

Adults need to receive feedback on how they are doing and the results of their efforts.

Opportunities must be built into professional development activities that allow the learner to practice the learning and receive structured, helpful feedback.

Adults need to participate in small-group activities during the learning to move them beyond understanding to application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation.

Small-group activities provide an opportunity to share, reflect, and generalize their learning experiences.

Elements of adult learning
Elements of Adult Learning

There are four critical elements of learning that must be addressed to ensure that adults learn. These elements are:

  • motivation

  • reinforcement

  • retention

  • transference

Elements of adult learning1
Elements of Adult Learning


Facilitators must establish rapport with participants and prepare them for learning; this provides motivation. They can motivate learners by setting:

  • a feeling or tone for learning.

  • an appropriate level of difficulty.

    In addition, learners need feedback. They must also see a reward for learning.

Elements of adult learning2
Elements of Adult Learning


Reinforcement is a very necessary part of the teaching/learning process; through it, facilitators encourage correct modes of behavior and performance.

When learners are trying to change behaviors (old practices), both positive and negative reinforcement are needed.

Elements of adult learning3
Elements of Adult Learning


Learners must retain information in order to benefit from the learning. Therefore they must see a meaning or purpose for that information. They must also understand and be able to interpret and apply the information.

If learners did not learn the material well initially, they will not retain it well either.

Retention by the participants is directly affected by the amount of practice during the learning. Instructors should emphasize retention and application. After learners demonstrate correct (desired) performance, they should be urged to practice to maintain it.

Elements of adult learning4
Elements of Adult Learning


The transfer of learning is the result of training -- it is the ability to use the information taught in the course but in a new setting.

Transference is most likely to occur in the following situations:

  • Association

  • Similarity

  • Degree of original learning

  • Critical attribute element