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How Adults Learn

In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By knivins
Words 1734
Pages 7
Kathryn Nivins
Module 1 Assignment
How Adults Learn

The study of adult learning has been a major focus of educators since the 1920s. Prior to the post war era, there was very little debate regarding the learning differences between adults and children. Pedagogy is the study of teaching/education with a primary focus on theory instruction. This structure base for educators was a widely accepted practice for all levels and student types. Malcolm Knowles developed a theory in his MA thesis that challenged the ideas of pedagogy with respect to adult students. His thesis focused on the learner rather than the teaching method. The main idea was that the learning process differs greatly between children and adults for a variety of reasons. This idea was further refined in future books written by Knowles in the 1970s and he coined the idea with the word “andragogy” or the “adult focused teaching approach”. [1] The characteristics that define this new approach are: a need to know, experience, readiness, applicability, and motivation. Throughout this essay, I will discuss the characteristics of adult learning as defined by Knowles and identify the differences for each of these qualities with respect to the learning process for children. The first quality that Knowles identified is that adults are “self-directed” or need to be engaged in what they are learning. Most adults that have returned to the classroom are there most likely by choice. They are engaged in the classes they register based on the assumption of completing a degree and how this can effectively change their future. Adults need to be involved in the process in order to feel that they are an active a participant in the educational process. Knowles stated that children are dependent on rules and instructions given by their teachers and therefore are in full control of the direction of the child’s...

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