Successful training occurs when facilitators understand the context that adults learn best. Unlike the external motivation in children, adults learn things they need and desire to make teacher-led and contentment-centered approaches unproductive (Strom, 2014). Acknowledging such differences, Knowles identified five assumptions critical to initiating meaningful experiences for adult learners. Firstly, adult learners are mature and capable of working autonomously through minimum instruction. Their self-concept allows adult learners to embrace self-study and undertake group projects (Knowles, Holton, & Swanson, 2014). The advanced maturity levels enable them to explore the activities and locate benefits independently. Secondly, they possess more extensive knowledge base acquired from their learning and life experiences (Wilson, 2012). The active involvement of adult learners taps into their skills and knowledge.
Adults are inspired to learn and acquire knowledge and skills perceived important to their individual and employment lives. They seek knowledge that guarantees them task-oriented development (Knowles, Holton, & Swanson, 2012). Fourthly, their readiness to learn enables the adults to align towards experiences that yield social development benefit. The maturity process stimulates changes in their time perspective from postponed to the immediate application of acquired knowledge (Wang, 2013; Johnson, 2015). It explains the shift from content-centeredness to problem-centeredness. Adults learn best through task-oriented learning that enables them to realize their workplace realities (Merriam & Bierema, 2013). The accumulation of problem-solving abilities yields confidence to conquer challenges when applying the newly-acquired knowledge. Accordingly, Battista and Ruble (2014) identified that adults have internal motivation to learn unlike children influenced by the external motivation for passing tests and acquiring more knowledge in future.
Guided by the assumptions on adult learners, Knowles summarized them into andragogy principles. Firstly, adult desires active involvement in planning and delivering their learning (Knowles, Holton, & Swanson, 2014). Their reserves of experiences and past knowledge offer a receptive foundation of subsequent education. They rationalize, synthesize and develop new ideas by filtering using their skills (Edwards, Sieminski, & Zeldin, 2014). Such allows them to make connections and derive relevance. Self-direction stimulates independency they seek to assume control of their learning journey (Tight, 2012). It differs with the teacher-led guidance. Besides, their willingness to learn aligns them to better their lives by acquiring knowledge that yields immediate value. Adults learn when they locate the compelling answer to their primary question, "What is in it for me?" The satisfaction of the response to the question stimulates a powerful internal motivation.
Adult learners would learn best when trainers apply the andragogy principles to realize the problem-centered and task-oriented learning. They should explain reasons for the specific training and immediacy value the learners will derive in the knowledge acquisition (D'Agustino, 2016). The instructions issued should identify with task-oriented value rather than promote memorization of teacher-led content. The learning activity should align to improve the everyday tasks they perform (Norris, Davis, & Timpe-Laughlin, 2017). The instructions issued should account for the diverse backgrounds of adult learners (Rubenson, 2011). Similarly, the events and materials applied during learning should accommodate existing diversity in previous experiences and variances in knowledge levels. Giuseffi (2018) argued that facilitators should tap into the self-directive attribute of adults by creating discovery channels that nurture independence in learning and finding task-oriented solutions.
Adults are rational and sensible learners who desire to use their minds to filter opportunities that yield immediate value in their tasks. Learning in adulthood involves a voluntary engagement for internally motivated individuals (Edwards, Sieminski, & Zeldin, 2014). Such individuals align their personal choice in improving their job skills and accomplishing professional growth. The internal motivation becomes the driving force to attend school (Duguid, Mundel, & Schugurensky, 2013). Awareness of such reality is essential for the trainer to tap into the intrinsic impetus by creating relevant thought-provoking material that questions conventional wisdom (Dirbashi, 2017). From the adult learning principles identified by Knowles et al., (2014), it reveals high expectations in learners to attain immediate results. Consequently, courses and training offered to adult learners should maximize the delivery of immediate value that fulfills their individual needs and advances their workplace productivity.
Battista, L., & Ruble, V. (2014, January 13). Nine Strategies to Spark Adult Students' Intrinsic Motivation. Faculty Focus. Retrieved June 24, 2018, from https://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/teaching-and-learning/nine-strategies-to-spark-adult-students-intrinsic-motivation/
D'Agustino, S. (2016). Creating Teacher Immediacy in Online Learning Environments. Hershey, Pennsylvania: IGI Global.
Dirbashi, A. a. (2017). The Role of Motivation in Adult Education. Training Quality Assurance & Performance Measurement .
Duguid, F., Mundel, K., & Schugurensky, D. (2013). Volunteer Work, Informal Learning and Social Action. Boston: SensePublishers.
Edwards, R., Sieminski, S., & Zeldin, D. (2014). Adult Learners, Education and Training. London: Routledge.
Giuseffi, F. G. (2018). Emerging Self-Directed Learning Strategies in the Digital Age. Hershey, PA: IGI Global.
Johnson, S. M. (2015). Adult Learning in the Language Classroom: New Perspectives on Language and Education. New York: Channel View Publications.
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Knowles, M. S., Holton, E. F., & Swanson, R. A. (2014). The Adult Learner: The definitive classic in adult education and human resource development (8 ed.). London: Routledge.
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Strom, S. L. (2014). The adult learner: The definitive classic in adult education and human resource development. Management Learning, 45(1), 107 - 109.
Tight, M. (2012). Key Concepts in Adult Education and Training (2 ed.). New York: Routledge.
Wang, V. C. (2013). Advanced Research in Adult Learning and Professional Development: Tools . Hershey, Pennsylvania: IGI Global.
Wilson, J. P. (2012). The Adult Learner: The Definitive Classic in Adult Education and Human Resource Development. Industrial and Commercial Training, 44(7), 438-439.
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