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Learning theories - Research Paper Example

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Learning theories

Teachers are regularly struck with suggestions for reforms. They are often asked to use different curricula, new assessment and novel teaching strategies. They are constantly been directed to prepare learners for new standardized test or to assess learner’s work by way of conducting portfolios and performance assessments. They are often advised to practice research based approaches to teach learners in order to enhance their performances (Wilson & Peterson, 2006). Traditionally, learning was perceived as just acquisition of skills and knowledge whereas currently, the concept has been viewed to include emotional as well as social and various societal dimensions. Additionally, learning theories attempts to describe and understand the various ways in which the people learn. Very often, the theories are considered to be the important resource of the educational research as they have the potential to guide in constructing new educational approaches and analyzing along with improving the existing approaches and trends (Navarro & Hoek, n.d.). With this concern, the paper intends to critically explore three learning theories of Malcolm Knowles’s learning theory of andragogy, transformative learning theory of Jack Mezirow and experiential learning theory belonging to D. A. Kolb. Brief Explanation of Theories Malcolm Shepherd Knowles and the Theory of Andragogy Malcolm shepherd Knowles is often been considered as the fundamental figure in the segment of adult education particularly in the region of United States during the middle of twentieth century. During the year 1950, he was assigned with the responsibility of Executive Director of the Adult Education Association of the US. The first work of Knowles was termed as informal adult education. Later, he developed a unique theoretical basis for adult education and learning through highlighting upon the notion of andragogy. This work of his was greatly appreciated in the US. Furthermore, his work was considered to be the crucial factor that has contributed in changing the views of adult teachers from ‘educating people’ to ‘helping them learn’. Knowles was able to convince that learning practices of adults are different from those of children. He was engaged in building inclusive theory concerning with adult learning that was closely related with the features of adult learners. Earlier work of Knowles concerning ‘informal adult education’ had postulated certain basic elements of process as well as settings. Later, he intended to combine all the elements in order to propose new conceptual basis for improving the adult learning practices. The mechanism or the learning theory that postulated by him was termed as andragogy. According to Knowles, the theory concerning andragogy was primarily based upon four pioneer assumptions that were based upon the characteristics of adult learners. These assumptions were related with the adult learners that are quite dissimilar from the assumptions that dealt with the children learners (Mark K. Smith, 2002). Later, a fifth assumption was added to the theory. Thus, the five basic assumptions relating to andragogy theory that developed by Knowles have been portrayed hereunder. Self-Concept According to Knowles, the maturity that occurs in an individual with the passage of times lead towards self-concept moves wherein an individual tends to become more self-directed person from being a reliant personality (Mark K. Smith, 2002). Experience Similarly, Knowles admitted that as an individual becomes ...Show more


Learning Theories Introduction Education is often perceived to play crucial role in everyone’s life. It enables an individual to adapt in the changing circumstances (Braungart & Braungart, 2007). It has always been inundated with new ideas of teaching and learning…
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Learning theories essay example
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