Adult Learning through Online Education

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Adult learners are different than youth learners because they understand why is important for them to learn and they can integrate new information with past experiences enhancing the process and overcoming barriers like fears or behaviors. In this century higher education is occurring through internet too, by online courses that led the student to a diploma of the same value as the traditional one. Adult learners enrolling in online courses are increasing year after year and more traditional institutions are starting to use online education as a method to get new students. While internet-based instruction is not going to replace the traditional classroom is becoming an accessible road for those adults that want to receive their education.

There are different theories or approaches of how an adult learn that have been discuss by educators. One of these theories is Andragogy, introduced by Alexander Kapp and developed later by Malcolm Knowles. According to Knowles andragogy is a learning theory that is developed on the specific need of adults, because they are self directed individuals who expect to take responsibility for decisions (Blondy, 2007, pp. 116-130). The adult learner needs to know why they need to learn a specific subject and they will learn it if the topic has an immediate value. Andragogy differs from pedagogy because in pedagogy learners bring no experience to the school and as Knowles stated, the motivation to learn is external, coming from parents and teachers (Blondy, 2007, pp. 116-130). Another approach to adult learning is multiple intelligences, theory developed by Dr. Howard Gardner in 1983. This theory argue that “ reason, intelligence, logic are not synonymous…” (Gardner, 1983) and stated that every person h...

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... the student do research but some of the material researched needs explanation and the student needs to wait until next class. These are some of the differences between them, although some students feel comfortable with online learning, others need the setup of a traditional class.

In conclusion, most of the students that enroll in online courses are working adults who prefer this setup as an alternative because this way they can share family and work schedule with their studies. They have the commitment and the determination to succeed in the online environment and they bring experience that can be helpful for them to learn and understand new theories and concepts. Adults value flexibility and the ability to choose their schedule. Online education gives adults an equal opportunity of finish school or attains that goal that it will put them on the road to success.
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