Social Nature of Learning for Adults Research Paper

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Social Nature of Learning for Adults

The act of being social means interacting with others. Learning can be a social process and learning for adults is different than the social process of how children learn. Two pioneers of the social nature of learning theory are Albert Bandura and Lev Vygotsky. Bandera's theory on social learning is that environment causes behavior, but behavior also causes environment. Bandura called this theory of his reciprocal determinism. Along with this theory, he felt that the more attentive a person was, the more he learned and how well a person retained information would have an effect on the learning process (http://webspace.ship.edu/cgboer/bandura.html). Lev Vygotsy's theory on social learning is based on constructivism. He believed that people use things such as speech and writing to navigate their social environments. He believed the act of learning is best when teachers collaborate with students because this process activates their skill and ability to learn (http://www.learning-theories.com/vygotskys-social-learning-theory.html). Both of these theories were based on the social nature of learning for children, but they can be applied to the social nature of learning for adults.Download full Download Microsoft Word File
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Research Paper on Social Nature of Learning for Adults Assignment

Depending on the age of the child, the nature of learning is very social. Younger children are easily influence by their teachers and will usually conform to the standards that the teacher sets for the entire classroom. They are also easily influenced by their classmates and will sometimes mimic certain behaviors of others in order to fit in. It can seem as though it is important for children to fit in and be accepted by their peers as well as their teachers. The social nature of an adult learning in most cases is different from that of a child. By the time a person reaches a certain age, they have pretty much formed their friendships and are in a college setting to learn in order to prepare for a career. They have a sense of who they are and their value systems have changed. There are many reasons that an adult wishes to learn and the social process of this is different from that of a child. According to Cameron, learning for adults is not always about consuming knowledge in order to perform a job, but it is more of a desire to broadening the mind in order to build a sense of community (2010).

As individuals, we all possess our own uniqueness. The ways in which we learn are also unique. Although children may learn differently than adults do, there is still a social nature to how adults learn. In fact, there may be more than one social nature. We first must note that learning does not always take place in the classroom, although a majority of learning does take place here. It can also take place in various settings such as the workplace, reading a novel or even watching a television program. Also, adults have different reasons for learning that children do. It is a requirement in the United States for children to go to school or in some cases they can be home schooled. However, once a person reaches adulthood any further learning in a structured setting is usually an option and not a requirement. A person can elect to go to college or learn a trade, but he isn't required to. but, say that the person does decided to further his education by going to college. The social nature within a college setting can be different much the same as with a child. It all depends on the age of the college students.

There is a social nature and process to learning for this group of people. Even though they are adults, they are young adults and still may have the tendency to want to fit in or follow the crowd. Many friendships are formed in classrooms as students sometimes are required to work in teams. Usually, in groups there is a certain amount of social activity as students are sometimes to meet outside of the classroom in order to work on projects together. Depending on the personality of the young adult, group work is not a favorable experience. Those individuals that are shy and withdrawn may have a different social experience than the students who are more social and outgoing.

As children, the method of teaching is different than the method of delivery in a college setting. In elementary school is where children learn all of the basics to prepare them for the next level or phase of their lives. What is taught by the teacher is generally accepted by the student. There may be less group work and more lecture style methods used, but in a college setting students are taught to be independent thinkers and learners. There is probably more group work and class presentation work and less time spent with the professor lecturing. As such, young adults often learn from other classmates by method of collaborative learning. Many college classes now make class participation part of the learning process which can be good because students get to hear how each view and relate to the topic at hand. This doesn't necessarily mean they are influenced by or accept the other views or opinions of their classmates, but they can learn to see a subject from a different perspective. They can also learn to respect the opinions and views of their classmates whether they agree with them or not.

The older adult learner more than likely has a different set of circumstances than the younger adult in a college or university setting. As an example, a person who is thirty-five years old and returning to college to complete an undergraduate degree or further their education by pursuing a graduate degree will have a different social experience than a child or even a young adult in college. At this age, most people have many more responsibilities than they did when they were in their late teens and early twenties. By this age, their social lives are usually already established as most have spouses and children or have built up a close network of friendships over the years. As a result, they aren't necessarily looking for a college experience so the social nature of learning will be different. They may still be required to work in teams and meet outside of the classroom, but at this stage they will be looking to fulfill the requirements of the course as opposed to forming new relationships with classmates.

Many adults in this group are taking advantage of learning via the online classroom. These types of classes are sometimes in blended form where the students are required to meet face-to-face for a few classes, or they can be conducted entirely online. Online learning can be a convenience for a student with work and/or family obligations, but it can also drastically cut down on the social aspects of learning because many students feel isolated due to the lack of face-to-face contact (Tsai, et.al 2008). There are certain technological developments in online learning that allow for collaboration between students, but it still a different social process. Being an adult with responsibilities and social relationships that are already formed does not mean that these individuals are not interested in the social process of learning or that they do not learn from others. Their lifestyles are different and the way in which they learn may be different also.

The classroom is not the only environment where learning takes place. According to Vygotsky's theory, someone or something possessing more knowledge than the learner could also be instrumental in the learning process. The term he used for this is the More Knowledgeable Other (Two pioneers of the social nature of learning theory are Albert Bandura and Lev Vygotsky. Bandera's theory on social learning is that environment causes behavior, but behavior also causes environment. Bandura called this theory of his reciprocal determinism. Along with this theory, he felt that the more attentive a person was, the more he learned and how well a person retained information would have an effect on the learning process (http://webspace.ship.edu/cgboer/bandura.html). Lev Vygotsy's theory on social learning is based on constructivism. He believed that people use things such as speech and writing to navigate their social environments. He believed the act of learning is best when teachers collaborate with students because this process activates their skill and ability to learn (http://www.learning-theories.com/vygotskys-social-learning-theory.html). On the job, the More Knowledgeable Other (MKO) could be a coworker or a computer.

For adults, the workplace can be a very social environment. It is where we spend the majority of our time during the weekdays. Depending on the type of work we do, this is the environment where most of us remain in order to build our careers. Career building usually consists of a certain amount of social activity coupled with learning new skills. In order to advance on the job, a person should acquaint himself with those that can help him in this endeavor. He must also know the skill set he needs… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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