Application Of The Adult Learning Model Essay

Application Of The Adult Learning Model Essay

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My transition from homeschool to West Point has been difficult. In homeschool, I never attended classes, submitted graded assignments, met with instructors, or even took tests. As a result, I spent this semester acclimating to the academics at West Point and accruing the necessary study habits to become a successful student. While some colleagues struggled with these and similar obstacles, I possessed one skill that most of them did not. Throughout high school, the nature of my education required me to take initiative and self-direct my own learning. Without having instructors—most subjects I wanted to learn—I had to study myself. Although my high school education had its share of shortcomings, I believe the way it forced me to think critically and teach myself has helped me tenfold in assimilating to West Point academia.
The Cambridge Online Dictionary defines an autodidact as “a person who teaches himself or herself, rather than being taught by a teacher” (1). This is my interpretation of the Adult Learning Model at its most fundamental level. In order to best conceptualize learning like an adult, it is helpful to juxtapose it with learning like a child. Children learn, in a traditional sense, by instruction. In a conventional K-12 school, students come to class with no prior knowledge of the lesson. In this case, teachers spend a class period teaching students given material. This is beneficial to students at this level because it gives the necessary guidance that young minds need. Conversely, as students grow older and become more mature, adult learning can be expected. The difference between these two types of learning comes from the individual that initiates the learning. When a teacher or instructor initiates the learning,...


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...ders—military or civilian. The sooner that students and teachers realize this, the better. West Point instructors do not lecture their cadets; instead, they provide them with learning environments and resources, to discuss ideas and learn autonomously. This application of the Adult Learning Model is what I believe sets West Point apart from other institutions. When a self-directed style of learning is used in the classroom, I believe that it better cultivates knowledge than its alternatives. Knowing how to think, analyze problems, and find adaptive solutions is critical to being an effective leader. Although I knew how to self-direct my own learning before coming to West Point, the transition to Academy life has still challenged, and continues to challenge, me in other ways. With time, I am confident that I can acclimate to the rigor inherent to West Point academics.

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