It is, therefore, worthwhile to note that the characteristics of development of adult learners need to influence the strategies of teaching and learning that are under implementation. This article provides an overview on the various aspects of adult development, how they affect adult learning, and the major issues surrounding adult development. The article also explores the theories of adult learning including andragogy, self directed learning, and transformational learning. Adult development Growth is the physical change that results from an increase in cell size or numbers. Growth can be quantitatively measured using the growth indicators such as weight, height, dentition, and the size of bones. On the other hand, development can be defined as a modification or change in the capacity if an individual to function, or the process of skill progress or enhancement. It is the capacity of an individual to adapt to his surrounding environment and, therefore, regarded as the behavioral growth aspect (Kail & Cavanaugh, 2010). The characteristics of adult development are in the forms of physical, cognitive, social and emotional domains present in an individual’s lifespan. There are three stages of life that occur in adulthood which include young, middle and older adulthood. These stages have characteristics that are unique and are evident in every stage of the four human development domains. For instance, the developmental characteristics of older adulthood include social characteristics such as loss of key family members and significant friends, prioritizing engagements and social activities, and beginning of transition to retirement. The physical aspects of growth include slowing down of reaction time, increase in the instance of chronic disease, decline in the sensory systems and physical abilities. Emotional development is signified with an increase in attempts to maintain personality traits along with reflection, ability to resolve conflict by applying integrity instead of despair. The last domain is cognitive development whereby an individual develops memory lapses, slower learning abilities, or mental abilities sufficient for accomplishing their daily chores (Jarvis, 2004). Maturation is mainly characterized nervous system changes and the brain, and aids in the stimulation of cognitive and physical or motor skills. The patterns of maturation are innate and programmed in the genetic code. During adulthood, people experience various challenges that affect their ability to go about their daily duties. Development begins in a concrete or straightforward manner, and proceeds to the complex mechanisms. Problem solving and reasoning abilities are inspired from the language and development of cognitive skills. For instance, the ability to classify or relate similar items implies the acquisition of cognitive skills. Concrete thoughts are usually manifested in the initial level of thinking which describes or gives a functional relationship between two subjects. Further advancement in the development of cognitive skills is manifested by a more complex or advanced understanding of the comparisons being made, as well development of a high capability of classifying objects (Kail & Cavanaugh, 2010). Issues surrounding adult development and their influence on adult learning Development is categorized as a continuous process in which the development of an individual signifies addition of new skills to the ones already acquired, thus forming a basis for further ...
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