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Principles of Adult Education - Essay Example

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Principles of Adult Education

What is acquired is not just knowledge content but strategies or capacities to develop new knowledge or cope with unfamiliar situations. The focus is on the individual, and particularly that person's conscious, rational activities of perceiving, interpreting, categorising and storing knowledge. Basically it depends upon the capabilities of an individual as to how he perceives learning. Schemata theorists, for example, suggest that as learners we first acquire new information, interpret it according to our previous experiences, then evaluate and remember concepts using our existing mental schemata or categories, and restructure our concepts and organising schemata as we are challenged by new experiences (Rumelhart & Norman, 1978).
All acquisition theories have some explanatory power when examining the range of different individuals' engagements with learning opportunities. These theories maintain that some concepts and practices do exist as a 'body' or discipline of previously developed knowledge, and that a learner encounters and integrates these. They suggest links among sociological and psychological theories of human behaviour, and emphasise that learners do acquire competencies in ways that cannot be fully explained through structures such as social class, economic privilege, group affiliation and networks. (Foley, 2004) Acquisition theories also raise issues about translating and sharing knowledge via brainstorming or by any other means among applications and groups. For example, expertise studies show that experts may develop procedure-bound routines that are locked into particular contexts and that blind them to the insight of relative novices.

Learning as a Reflective Process
This influential adult learning perspective casts the individual as a central actor in a drama of personal 'meaning-making'. As learners reflect on their lived experience, they actively interpret what they see and hear, emphasising aspects of greatest personal interest or familiarity, and so construct and transform their own unique knowledge in such a way that learners are able to grasp the concepts that are being taught to them. This means that in a classroom of adults listening to a presentation, each learner will most likely construct a very different understanding of what they are hearing. Some writers associated with reflective constructivism, such as Piaget (1966) focus on the individual, alternating between assimilation of newly constructed concepts and accommodation of these constructs to new encounters. Others, like Vygotsky (1978) focus on the social interaction between the individual and the environment, showing that in the process of constructing knowledge learners affect other pupil around them as much as they are affected by the pupil. (Foley, 2004) However, all reflective learning theories share one central belief: as learners' teachers construct, through reflection, a personal understanding of relevant structures of meaning derived from ...Show more


There are no hard and fast rules for education standards which can give a clear picture of distinguishing features between adult and childhood education, however to great extent the similarity exists for the purpose of educating and training the learning society especially when the survey evidence conflicts in the United Kingdom, it is clear that adult participation rates whether in formal education and training or in learning more broadly conceived-do not match the rhetoric associated with the concept of the present learning society…
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Principles of Adult Education essay example
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