Adult Learning Theory

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Learning is the act of acquiring, or modifying and reinforcing, existing knowledge, behaviors, skills, values, or preferences through experience, instruction or study. Learning is integral in work, and work is integral in learning. The Theory of Adult Learning or Andragogy was initially introduced by German educator, Alexander Kapp in 1833. It was popularized in 1970 by Malcolm S Knowles, father of adult education. He introduced practioners to the art and science of helping adults learn (Knowles 1973). Many foundations for learning organizations, the desirability of encouraging informal learning owe much to the Knowles theory of adult learning. The attributes that define his theory include: acknowledging that learners as self-directed and…show more content…
In the Modern Practice of Adult Education: Andragogy vs. Pedagogy (1970) Knowles presented five basic assumptions about adult learners namely: 1. Adult Self-concept- When adults discover that they are capable of self-direction in learning, they often experience a remarkable increase of motivation to learn and a strong desire to continue the process of learning. Knowles (1975) himself contributed to the self-directed learning literature with a book explaining the concept and outlining how to implement it through learning contracts 2. Role of Experience in Adults – Experience provides a rich resource of learning in adult learning (Sommers 1989).The importance of experience in adult learning has been emphasized in andragogy literature. Learning is a continuous process where learners are trying to understand and apply their experiences in daily…show more content…
They also learn from their past experiences that forms as a knowledge base from which they draw learning concepts (Sommers 1989). They require reinforcement to be a part of the learning process so as to correct mistakes in their performance. Hanson (1996) argued that the difference in learning is related to individual characteristics and differs in context, culture and power but not related to the age and stage of one's life. Future of Andragogy Malcom Knowles pioneered the adult learning theory but much more can be looked upon based on the various factors that affect it. Keeping Knowles theory of andragogy in mind, further studies can be done to go beyond his version and include broader perspectives in the field. Continuous research will help to know more about how adults can be engaged in learning and best methodologies to teach adults can be arrived

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