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Adult Education in the 21st Century - Essay Example

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Adult Education in the 21st Century

Many theories have been put forward on how adults learn in the 21st century resulting to different propositions in this issue. One of the many theories proposed is Malcolm Knowles’ theory of andragogy that has gained acceptance based on recognition. This theory has been accepted without careful consideration of its propositions. Though widely accepted, there have been debates about this theory’s classification. People have not been able to define this theory according to its work (is it an adult learning theory, a teaching theory, a philosophical theory or all of these) because it may serve different purposes. Adult learning process is a bit different from child education, and it would encompass issues such as the purpose of learning. This process would also require that those being taught choose how they want the process to be done. This would not be the case when dealing with school going children. This write up looks on how adult learning is done in the 21st century.Knowles defines andragogy as “the art and science of teaching adults.” In his efforts to work on this theory, he gave four assumptions upon which adult learning would be based. According to Knowles, adult learning is based on the following assumptions. The first assumption is that teachers are responsible for helping adults to move from reliance and become independent.The other assumption is that learners are believed to see education as a way to increase their competence. Thirdly, Knowles makes an assumption that learners will be willing to learn to aim that the knowledge attained would enable them solve real-life problems. The other assumption is that adults have are experienced, and this would facilitate the learning process. Later, Knowles together with Holton and Swanson added two assumptions on adult learning. The first one was that adults knew the reason that made them learn at that age. The final assumption in this area is that self esteem is a motivator for adult education. One concept in this theory is that adult learning has been compared to a contract that requires at least two parties. The teacher and the learner negotiate on the outcome of the learning process that is yet to be implemented. Negotiations on how the outcome will be achieved are also done by these two parties. This corporation of the teacher and the learner in formulating strategies together is the foundation upon which andragogy is based. Therefore, andragogy provide insights on the learning process and is considered an approach to adult education and development (St. Clair, 2002). Transformational and relative learning Adult learning process applies a process called situated learning which tackles activities that are familiar to the learner. Here, the adult students learn through immersion in activities that concern their discipline of study. For instance, engineering and political science students would be required to examine the content and structure of governmental websites. This would enable them study the weaknesses and strengths of government resources that are provided online (Sholes, 2003). Situated learning will aim to achieve various aspects on adults taking learning lessons. Present the students with situations that would reflect the way they will apply the knowledge they have acquired in real life situations. For example, this would be in problem solving in their discipline of work. It will also provide numerous roles and multiple perspectives, support working together in construction of knowledge and admission to expert performances. Constructive- development learning The other theory applied in adult learning is constructive- development theory that encompasses adult growth and the learning proc ...Show more


Adults involve themselves in learning activities for various reasons such as earning advanced certificates, enrich their lives, learn basic skills or even acquire knowledge and skills that would enable them succeed in their work place…
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Adult Education in the 21st Century essay example
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