Adult Learners: The Adult Learner

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The Adult Learner

An adult’s willingness to learn is not related to his or her ability to learn.

Adult learners may be "education wounded" from earlier learning experiences and require "unlearning" to become an effective adult learner.

Adult learners are more than just machines processing information. Adult learners come with a mind, memories, conscious and subconscious worlds, emotions, imagination and a physical body, all of which interact with learning.

The adult learning process is much more than the systematic acquisition and storage of information. It is also making sense of our lives, transforming not just what we learn but the way we learn and it is absorbing, imagining, intuiting and learning informally with others.

Adult Learners …show more content…

Sometimes barriers such as time, attitude towards learning and programs that ignore best practice in adult learning block internal motivation.

The Science of Adult Learning
The learning experience has to feel good. When adults feel positive about a situation, endorphins are released, making them feel good and open to learning, and dopamine stimulates the pre-frontal cortex keeping them attentive and likely to remember the learning.
Professional development that begins with a message of, "You teachers have failed your kids, let us teach you the right way to do this job," isn 't going to work. Negative feelings (including feeling like you 've been forced to attend a PD) cause the hormone cortisol to enter the blood stream. This catapults the brain into survival mode, and shifts the brain 's attention away from learning and into dealing with stress. Instead of learning, the brain remembers the pressure and registers PD as unpleasant.
A “fear of failure” climate encourages survival behavior, not learning behavior and promotes patterned, routine, and procedure oriented responses.

Past Experiences and

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