|Knowledge Area BEPs|
Adult learning is a complex and little understood element of human development, but is generally described as a psychological and social process (Mezirow, in McDonald, 1999, p. 163). McDonald compiled the following definitions (1999, pp. 162-163).
For adults, learning is:
Adult education is the social system that facilitates adult learning. The question is not “Will they learn?” It is “What will they learn?” Adults appear to be more motivated when learning something relevant to their “current development tasks, social roles, life crises, and transition period” (Brookfield, in McDonald, 1999, p. 29).
Key considerations include (Merriam & Caffarella, 1999):
Finally, adult educators are involved in a moral activity, and will want to evaluate potential implications of their endeavor. “Regardless of our specific role or the organization that employs us, we are engaged in bringing about change, and the change process . . . Education . . . is a form of social intervention, which is defined as “any act, planned or unplanned, that alters the characteristics of another individual or pattern of relationships between individuals” (Kelman & Warwick, in Merriam & Caffarella, 1999, p. 13).
About.com. 2008. Adult learning theories and theorists. NY Times, About Inc., Understanding Adult Learning at http://adulted.about.com/od/adultlearningtheory/Adult_Learning_Theories_and_Theorists.htm
Knox, A. 1993. Strengthening Adult and Continuing Education: A Global Perspective on Synergistic Leadership. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
McDonald, B. 1999. From pedagogy to ecogogy: Integrating adult learning, education, and ecosystem management (Chapter 10) in Integrating Social Sciences with Ecosystem Management: Human Dimensions in Assessment, Policy, and Management. Champaign, IL: Sagamore Publishing.
Merriam, S. & R. Caffarella. 1999. Learning in Adulthood. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.