This is an archive of the 2013 version of ocTEL.

#ocTEL MOOC (week 2 A22) Some thoughts about adult learning

Adult learning is one of the issues addressed by the theme of #ocTEL week 2. I have read some of the material which emphasizes principles for a successful organisation of teaching to adults. Not surprisingly, we find as a major difference with children, the fact that adults know why they are there, they have strong expectations about the learning outcomes with as an objective a significant impact on their job or private life. I would say that for adults learning is driven by a personal project, their comtment is the expression of a willing. In a more precise way, it seems classical in this area, with which I am not familiar, to refer to Malcolm Knowles six assumptions about adult learning: "(1) need to know, (2) self-concept, (3) prior experience, (4) readiness to learn, (5) learning orientation, and (6) motivation to learn." (quoted by Ota et al, 2006).

But there is one assumption, given my experience with adult teaching in the 80s, which is missing: adults have much more exigencies than children concerning the competence of the trainer or teacher, either concerning the content or the pedagogical method. The adult learner expects to meet someone who knows. Indeed, the organisation of learning is important and should be adapted to both the audience and the learning area, but adult learners must quickly be ensured that in the end they will have acquired the intended content or competence and that the whole process is under control of a knowledgeable other they can trust.
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