Assignment – CLD3/6 Assignment 1
Name: James (Jim) Heyburn
Title: How can theories of adult learning enhance your practice as an informal educator with people of any age?
Due date: 10/06/2013
Course tutor: Dr B Belton
I confirm that this work has not been copied, plagiarised or duplicated.
Signed: J Heyburn
Assignment Booklet - “How can theories of adult learning enhance your practice as an informal educator with people of any age? “
Jim Heyburn - “Well in essence they cannot. Thank you and goodnight......
Assignment Booklet - “Hang on a minute you cannot just make a sweeping statement like that and get away with it without backing it up, you could be wrong. Try discussing this question with reference to a critical appraisal of the research from which particular adult learning theories have been developed.”
Jim Heyburn – “Ok here is what I’ll do, I will look at relevant theorists who are peddling their own ideas about “Adult Learning” and see if there is a difference or commonality in dissemination of information depending on age ranges, I will even look at a recent piece of work and break it down to see what worked, didn’t and why? Thank you and Good night “(Does a Norman Wisdom trip and exits stage left.)
What is Adult learning?
Learning is the process of absorbing, retaining and finally the regurgitation of information to fulfil a particular skill requirement through a sub conscious or conscious act coupled with voluntary or coerced means. (Heyburn, 2013, 2)
So am I right? Well if I am then Learning is just Learning. Labelling it child centric, adolescent focused or adult Learning is just nicheing.
The theories that relate to any form of learning pertain mainly to the differentiation of the learners need depending on ability, age, gender, socio-economic status etc etc.
If we just focus on what learning is then as Mr Kolb would suggest,
“Learning is the process whereby knowledge is created through the transformation of experience. Knowledge results from the combination of grasping experience and transforming it”. - Kolb (1984, 41)
He does not mention the age specifics, just a learning process. It also depends once again on the cognitive function, reasoning and ability to reflect on that information by the individual the learners concerned. I would also add to that quote that there needs to be a strong element of understanding as well.
So if Kolb’s process is right we can assume the learning process is not age limiting or different.
So what is inherently different about Adult learning?
“By adulthood people are self-directing. This is the concept that lies at the heart of andragogy ... andragogy is therefore student-centred, experience-based, problem-oriented and collaborative very much in the spirit of the humanist approach to learning and education ... the whole educational activity turns on the student.” Burns (1995, p.233)
So from this angle all it does is focus on the student and by allowing that student to have a say in his or her learning process and direction means somehow it is more appropriate to adults. It doesn’t sound too far off Illich’s ideas based on learning webs and the student being autonomous in accessing and absorbing the information they need. (I Illich, Deschooling Society)
There is an Andragogic Model by Knowles (1973) that tries to establish the breakdown of adult learning.
“The Andragogic Learning Model recognizes several facets to learning.
Learners are problem centered rather than content centered.
Instructors permit and encourage the active participation of the learners.
Instructors encourage the learner to introduce past experiences into the learning process in order to re examine that experience in the light of new data.
The climate of learning must be collaborative (instructor-to-learner and learner-to-learner) as opposed to authority-oriented.
The learning environment (planning, conducting, evaluating) is