The adult learning experience also known as andragogy is different from children’s learning experiences in many ways. First of all, adults differ from children in terms of their brain. The adult brain is more mature and more experienced than that of a child. For this reason, they tend to reflect on what they are taught rather than just internalizing it and memorizing it. Secondly, adults have experience, and therefore they are looking to learn different things that will give them different experiences (Dogra, Dabas, and Nair, 2018). Third, adults’ readiness or willingness comes from seeing the relevance of what they are learning. As opposed to children, they want to know how new knowledge will help them make their lives better and that knowledge has immediate benefits to them. However, adult learning is culturally different in different settings, and therefore educators should know how to handle adult learners in their classes.
Analysis of the Culture Issues
There are many cultural differences between western societies and non-western societies regarding adult learning. In western ideology, education is perceived as a way of developing an individual. On the contrary, non-westerners regard learning a communal- a method to develop the whole society rather than just the individual. Similarly, non-western adult learners are more willing to gain knowledge if what they learn is relevant and applicable to the people or issues that they are experiencing. For example, adult learners in Africa are more likely to relate to teachings about HIV/AIDS because they are affected in one way or the other. On the other hand, Latin American Adult Learners are more likely to relate to teachings about child rearing and nutrition because these situations are applicable in their lives (Peltz, and Clemons, 2018). Another cultural difference is that in western cultures people perceive education as a foundation to a successful life and a gateway to more future opportunities.
On the other hand, for students who hail from poverty-stricken or primarily work-oriented backgrounds, the process of learning should possess a different applicability form that what westerners consider necessary. Additionally, another characteristic of cross-cultural learning is that learning never stops once a person leaves a formal institution. Most of the learning occurs outside the school. It is a common cultural belief that one can learn about the cycles and nature of life through gardening for instance. Illeris (2018) contradict this learning with one focused towards making better a person’s vocation a common cultural belief in the west. Additionally, non-westerners believe that learning has no end and only stops when one dies. The Westerners believe that learning stops when one achieves self-actualization.
From these differences in cultures, adult educators should remember these correlations for them to be able to engage their adult learners at a deeper level. It is also important for adult learners’ educators to recognize cultural differences for them to focus on teaching adults neurologically and consider the cultural demands of every student to make adult learning more successful.
Analysis of Diverse Learning Styles
As seen above, adult learners are different from children. However, just like children they also have different learning styles that they need to focus on to achieve success. There are six different learning styles that adult learners have. These are Visual, aural, print, tactile, interactive, and kinesthetic. Visual learners only need to see clear and easy to process written words or diagrams. Images or PowerPoint presentations are beneficial for these kinds of learners (Rogowsky, Calhoun, and Tallal, 2015). Aural learners, on the other hand, are more attracted to sound. They need to listen to sounds so that they can process material. These learners prefer to read aloud, and they enjoy the class lecture method. Print learners, however, process material quickly by writing it down. These learners prefer taking notes, but they may never look at the records again.
Tactile learners are more hands-on, and they need to perform tasks to process them practically. They are more likely to avoid written materials and try to do work practically. Interactive learners, however, like to discuss concepts through question and answer forums or group discussions. Class presentations may be helpful for these learners. Kinesthetic learners are more likely to through movement. For these learners, role plays, and training exercises offer them the flexibility to move about the class thus helping them process quickly (Peterson, DeCato, and Kolb, 2015). It is essential for adult learners to recognize their preferred style of learning for them to help educators devise the right methods for teaching them. Educators should also be aware that not all techniques are effective for all learners and should, therefore, find out from learners the best way to assist them.
Analysis of Adult Learning theories
The self-directed learning theory asserts that adults are individuals who direct themselves and want to be in charge of the journey of learning. They are people who are independent and want to feel like they are in control of the situation (Cox, 2015). In this unit, this theory is represented in that adult learners are allowed to have a voice in the process and content of the material they are learning.
Transformational learning theory explains how adult learners gain knowledge from moments that change some aspects of their lives. According to the theory, learning occurs in the presence of new meaning being imparted to an earlier experience or when an old meaning is given in a new light (Cox, 2015). This theory is represented in this unit because it realizes that adults already have a lot of past experiences to draw from. Therefore teaching is focused on adding to what they already know from the past and adding new meaning to it.
The experiential learning theory theorizes that the significance of adult learning is to make sense of experiences. It adds that adults learn best when they do and when they feel directly involved with the process of ‘experiencing’ the knowledge than just memorizing definitions and numbers from books (Cox, 2015). This theory is represented in the unit because we realize that adults are searching for practical methods of learning. As such, therefore, all content taught is focused on issues that relate to their personal or work life. The unit ensures that instead of memorizing materials from the book, learning is centered on problem-solving.
Analysis of Behaviorism, Cognitivism, & Constructivism
According to the behaviorism, theory knowledge exists independently outside of individuals. Theorists perceive the learner a black book that should be filled with experience. The theory suggests that learning happens when new behaviors are achieved through the association between stimuli and responses (Imenda, 2018). This theory is represented in the unit because educators base the learning process on observable behavior educators present learners with stimuli from the environment and allow them to reach.
The cognitivism is rooted in the idea that humans can process received information and do not merely respond to stimuli. Although changes are observed in behaviors of the learners, it is only because of the processes occurring in the learner’s mind. In this unit, this theory is represented by solely focusing on what is in the learner’s mind as opposed to observable behaviors.
Constructivism bases on the foundation that people construct their perspective of the world depending on the knowledge and experiences. In this sense, therefore, learning occurs based on what the person interprets and creates meaning from (Imenda, 2018). The unit represents this theory through recognizing that every person generates their mental perceptions which they utilize to make sense of their experiences. The unit uses this theory to prepare learners for problem-solving.
Cox, E. (2015). Coaching and adult learning: Theory and practice. New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education, 2015(148), 27-38.
Dogra, T. D., Dabas, N., & Nair, A. (2018). Andragogy and Educational Philosophies: An Overview. Indian Journal of Health Sciences and Care, 5(2), 60-64.
Illeris, K. (Ed.). (2018). Contemporary theories of learning: learning theorists. in their own words. Routledge.
Imenda, S. N. (2018). On the Unity of Behaviourism, Cognitivism and Constructivism in Teaching and Learning. Int J Edu Sci, 20(1-3), 86-95.
Peltz, D. P., & Clemons, A. C. (Eds.). (2018). Multicultural Andragogy for Transformative Learning. IGI Global.
Peterson, K., DeCato, L., & Kolb, D. A. (2015). Moving and learning: Expanding style and increasing flexibility. Journal of Experiential Education, 38(3), 228-244.
Rogowsky, B. A., Calhoun, B. M., & Tallal, P. (2015). Matching learning style to instructional method: Effects on comprehension. Journal of educational psychology, 107(1), 64.
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