These questions include “What motivates students to attend classes? Through what processes to adults learn best? How can I adjust my teaching practices to take into account the learning styles of my students?” (Tennant, 2006). The capacity of adult educators to effectively understand the learning processes and needs of their students is aided significantly through the application of psychology and developmental psychology. Developmental psychology is important to the adult education practitioner as adults are still experiencing development, albeit in a differing fashion than children or young adults.
Adults and Children as Learners Teaching adults should be different if adults learn differently than children do. Theories or perspectives on adult learning, such as andragogy, make a number of assertions about the characteristics of adults as learners: adults need learning to be meaningful; they are autonomous, independent, and self-directed; prior experiences are a rich learning resource; their readiness to learn is associated with a transition point or a need to perform a task; their orientation is centered on problems, not content; they are intrinsically motivated; their participation in learning is voluntary (Draper 1998; Sipe 2001; Tice 1997; Titmus 1999). For some, "the major difference between adults and younger learners is the wealth of their experience" (Taylor, Marienau, and Fiddler 2000, p. 7). For others, the capacity for critical thinking or transformative learning is what distinguishes adults (Vaske 2001). In contrast, pedagogy assumes that the child learner is a dependent personality, has limited experience, is ready to learn based on age level, is oriented to learning a particular subject matter, and is motivated by external rewards and punishment (Guffey and Rampp 1997; Sipe 2001).
Andragogy popularised by Malcolm Knowles in the 1980’s is the concept that he described as the “the art and science of helping adults learn” (Knowles, 1980), he helped the theory of learning to focus on the learners experience, whilst failing to analyse the nature of that experience (Jarvis, 2010). Knowles theories differentiated between adult and child learning and explored the idea that andragogy was different to pedagogy in five main ways. The adult learner needs to be more responsible for the learning and that it should be self-directed. They also have a wealth of knowledge and life experience to draw on to inform their learning. A readiness to learn, a thirst for knowledge as they have made the choice to learn in their area.
An update of transformative learning theory: A critical review of the empirical research (1999–2005). International Journal of Lifelong Education, 26(2), 173–191. doi: 10.1080/02601370701219475 Taylor, E. W. (2008). Transformative learning theory. New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education, 119, 5-15. doi: 10.1002/ace.301
It is important because in order to effectively teach adult learners we must first “be cognizant of the differences which adult students bring to the classroom” (Schultz, 2012, p. 1) and to also understand that among adult learners, there exist “varying expectations and reasons for learning” (Schultz, 2012, p. 1). Andragogy is more¬over important to adult learners and teachers because both “learners and educators alike can use [it] to strengthen the learning transaction” (Mirriam et al., 2007, p. 84). With this brief definition of andragogy, along with the corresponding reason for its importance in mind, what now follows is what this paper is going to be about. The topic of this paper is an evaluation of whether or not the traditional learning environment is conducive to learning for adult learners as opposed to the andragogical environment. And the dual purpose hereof is to first briefly relate my own personal experience in a traditional learning context (under the heading of a ‘Traditional Learning Environment’), and then to reflect upon whether or not that traditional context (this time under the heading of ‘Andragogy Reflection’) i... ... middle of paper ... ... of Academic Librarianship.
It views the learning that is problem base and collaborative. It implies the need for individual to be self-directed as they mature and to utilize experience as part of the learning process. His principles includes that adult are internally motivated, self-directed, brings life experiences and knowledge to learning, goal oriented, relevancy oriented, practical learners and wanted to be respected.7 Houle – learning principles, he divided learning styles into goal-activity, and learning outcome oriented. Goal oriented learners use education for accomplishing clear cut objectives, while Activity oriented learners are course takers and group joiners. They enjoy the social contact almost to a greater degree than learning process.
Experience (including mistakes) provides the basis for learning activities. 3. Adults are interested in learning subjects that have immediate relevance to their job or personal life. 4. Adult learning is problem-centered rather than content-oriented.