There have been numerous theories about adult learning by scholars including the Behaviourist,Humanist,Cognitivist,but the one to gain most prominence in recent years is Androgogy for its individual-centred propositions encompassing new dimensions of human learning…
Most of its assumptions are derived from animal research whereby, Behaviourism, influenced by Thorndike, Pavlov, and Skinner mostly, postulates that learning is a change in observable behaviour caused by external stimuli in the environment.Researchers like John B. Watson and Edward L. Thorndike based most of their focus on laboratory experimentation from where they generated the famous stimulus-response model as they believed that the inner experiences that were the focus of psychology could not be properly studied as they were not observable. In behaviourist orientation to learning, the principles of contiguity (how close in time two events must be for a bond to be formed) and reinforcement (any means of increasing the likelihood that an event will be repeated) are central to explaining the learning process. Using consequences to control the occurrence of behaviour, known as operant conditioning - reinforcing what you want people to do again; ignoring or punish what you want people to stop doing, behaviourists generalize their findings from animal research to human learning patterns in classrooms. ...
This orientation to learning has been criticized for its overly deterministic nature of the conditioning theory derived from only empirical evidence of stimulus-response behaviour of animals which, sensibly, cannot be so indiscriminately applied to humans. Their overdependence on single events, stimuli and overt behaviours to judge and evaluate human mind and measuring human learning quantitatively, totally ignoring the cognitive processes in the learner's mind are in great opposition to the views of the cognitivists.
Humanistic theorists, on the other hand, advocate the type of education that is both intellectual and emotional, taking into account the personal experience of the learners involved. Humanistic theories basically emerged in 1960's, following the publication of A S. Neill's book called Summerhill, as a reaction to behaviourist methods and was particularly attractive to post-16 education with students who had not succeeded within the traditional school system. Neill's system was a radical approach to child rearing which represented the true principle of "education without fear". In his book Summerhill, Neill maintains a firm faith "in the goodness of the child" believing that the average child is not born a soulless automaton, but has full potentialities. The aim of education, according to him, should include both cognitive and emotional development of the trainees helping them to respond to life not just with their brain but also their whole personality, a feature that has been lacking in modern society.
Perhaps the most persuasive exploration of a humanistic orientation to learning camefrom Carl Rogers, a gifted teacher, who was able to demystify therapy; focus on the person of the ...
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