Compare and Contrast the Learning Process Through Several Adult Development and Learning Models Thesis

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¶ … learning process through several adult development and learning models.

In order to accurately analyze the adult learning processes, it is important to understand what adult learning encompasses. There are many who believe that adult learning is a process or a means to an end while others believe that adult learning instills the necessary adjustments or alterations in one's attitude and comprehending abilities. Carl Rogers in one of his studies explains that adult learning allows and individual to truly believe that he is constantly "discovering, drawing in from the outside, and making that which is drawn in a real part" of who he is as a person and as an employee (Rogers and Freiberg, 1993). For Rogers and Freiberg the entire effort to learn should be about bringing the learner closer to understanding what he/she is genuinely interested in and is adapting what he/she has learned in a domain of life that he fond of.

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The fat of the matter is that over the years, the researches, theories and practices that have been conducted on adult learning have not really focused on or been able to design what adult learning itself encompasses. If one analyzes the adult learning theories that are applied within Britain it would be clear to see that the theories and the actual practice of adult learning in informal educational setups and professional education are not coinciding. The generalized belief even in the United States is that the adult learning processes and standards will be up to the par once the medium and the methodology of teaching is clearly identified and applied. This of course is not the right attitude if the educators want to teach the students the ability to learn and use what they have learned in the long run. This entire lack-luster approach damages the theories of adult learning as well. In this paper, however, the focus will not be only defining adult learning; instead the focus will lie on identifying some of the important adult learning models. It is important; still to identify the process and impact of adult learning as both a product and a process within the educational sector.

Adult learning as a product

Thesis on Compare and Contrast the Learning Process Through Several Adult Development and Learning Models Assignment

For a majority of the analysts before and during the 1970s, adult learning was merely a product i.e. A means to an end. This simply means that adult learning was believed to be the source of any adjustments or alterations that were needed in an individual. It was believed that a person was learned when he was open to improving and constantly adjusting his/her overall attitude and approach of a situation in accordance to the circumstances that the situation brought. Most researchers hence argued that adult learning as a product was a tangible element and could also be measured. The fact that adult learning as a product can be measured is of high importance in today's world where everything needs to be scientifically proven and measured. It is true that the idea of adult learning as a product does stress on the importance of change that is a direct result of adult learning, however, the entire approach is still very limited.

Adult learning as a process

According to Merriam and Caffarella adult learning can be believed as the process "process by which behaviour changes as a result of experience" (Merriam and Caffarella 1991). This simply means that when we consider adult learning as a process then it evidently becomes significantly important to identify the exact impact of adult learning and always keep in mind the elements of what (the impact or the experience), how (the methodologies used) and when (the timing of methodologies used). Another important element that is given importance when considering adult learning as a process is the awareness of the individuals or learners of their surroundings and the fact that they have the opportunity to be constantly adult learning. This awareness of constantly adult learning is what laid the foundation for the theory of informal adult learning and how it can influence an individual's life and approach towards formal adult learning procedures. Rogers (2003) divided the adult learning as a process approach into two categories: 1) task-conscious or acquisition adult learning and 2) adult learning-conscious or formalized adult learning.

Task-conscious or acquisition adult learning:

Acquisition adult learning is purely based on experience and is a consistently on-going process. Acquisition adult learning is based around instantaneous and real experiences that an individual goes through within a specified setting like babysitting or being in charge of a kitchen (Rogers 2003). Mostly this format of adult learning is believed to be adult learning through a process of instinctive or reflective comprehension of one's surroundings. Rogers (2003) argues that while the adult learning itself might be unconscious but the application of what one has learned is a conscious decision and hence tangible in nature.

Adult learning-conscious or formalized adult learning:

Formalized adult learning as the name suggests is an official setup where an individual is given instructions on the basics and fundamentals of theories and situations. It is mainly teaching an individual the different aspects of what needs to be learned instead of allowing the individual to learn through his/her experience. Through formalized adult learning, the individual is always aware that he/she is involved in a process whereby he is adult learning and storing facts in his/her head. All of the adult learning that takes place in the formalized adult learning format is pre-planned and systematically conveyed through the use of different methodologies. (Rogers 2003).

Adult learning Models:

Self-Directed Adult learning:

Self-Directed adult learning is perhaps the most important adult learning model. According to Knowles, there is no adult learning that is more effective then when an individual is eager and willing to learn. He explains that the eager learner a.k.a. The proactive learner is the one who encompasses more knowledge in a quick time span. The proactive learner is also most likely to have a higher level of understanding and better application of what he/she has learned. Knowles explains that in comparison to the reactive learners, who wait to be taught, the proactive learners are more determined and better off with what they have learned in the long run (Knowles 1975).

Knowles (1975) is supported by many researches when he says that the proactive adult learning process is more concurrent with the systematic psychological growth of an individual. He says that the "essential aspect of maturing is developing the ability to take increasing responsibility for our own lives - to become increasingly self-directed" (Knowles 1975). He further explains that the educational processes, like most other dimensions of life, are experiencing constant change and it is the proactive learner who benefits from his thirst of knowledge. This is so because in order to adeptly apply what has been learned there is a dire need for taking the necessary responsibilities to personally adjust one's abilities and knowledge in accordance to the situation. He asserts that the "students entering into these programs without having learned the skills of self-directed inquiry will experience anxiety, frustration, and often failure, and so will their teachers" (Knowles 1975). So in order to avoid this from happening he designed five steps that could help an individual develop self-direction skills which are:

1. Identifying and breaking down what the individuals needs and wants to learn.

2. Articulating what the individuals needs and wants to learn.

3. Recognizing and accessing the different assets needed to learn what one wants, both human and objective assets.

4. Identifying, selecting and applying the right adult learning methodologies.

5. Analyzing the results attained.

Merriam and Cafferella (1991) explain that the processes of self-directed adult learning are instrumental in helping many instructors to design the formalized processes of adult learning. There are many researches that confirm that most adult learning processes and models are not necessarily built around the systematic following of steps but instead are more instinctive and instantaneous in application. Hence the importance of self-direction is more in adult learning. Reflective learning, even though, has its importance too in adult learning but the self-directed increases in significance as it is based around the real circumstances that the individuals are going through as opposed to hypothetical problem-solutions scenarios. Self-direction allows the adults to personally contemplate and discover.

Andragogic Adult Learning:

Andragogic has originated from a Greek word "agogos" which means guidance or guide. There are many who prefer using the word andragogic over pedagogic when talking about adult learning, however, the actual application of andragogic and pedagogic teaching methodologies are very different. The main aim of pedagogic teaching techniques is to increase the extent and spectrum of knowledge of an individual regarding a specific topic or domain. While the main aim of andragogic teaching encompasses the identification, understanding of and learning from experiences. Andragogic teaching encourages the adult learners to:

Be proactive

Employ self-direction techniques

Be problem-solvers

Identify and apply the self-motivating factors

Furthermore, in the andragogic learning processes, the adult learners are always encouraged to understand the dynamics of… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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