A Critical Reflection on Adult Learning

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A Critical Reflection on Adult Learning

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My View of Adult Learning Prior to This Course

My perception on adult learning before this course was somewhat meager as I viewed it in terms of social, economic and political aspects alone. Though I understood that the nature of the society at any time determines the relative emphasis placed on adult learning, I had little notion of the fact that the urgency of dealing with diverse social realties is felt by adults.  My view was consistent with aspects such as technological advancements and their effect on adult education. I believed that adult education is responsive to the context in which it takes place. For instance, adult education courses ought to be designed to enable people to function effectively in the current digital environment. I had significant knowledge of the need for adult education and responding to it by promoting it through understanding the key socio-cultural contexts in which adult education occurs.

I perceived the changing demographics as a social reality shaping the provision of learning in contemporary adult education. In most developed nations such as the U.S, the adults outnumber the youths with diverse cultural and ethnic groups. With such changes in the society, adult education appeared to me as a vital tool for promoting economic growth and social integration. The American population is increasingly becoming more diverse in terms of ethnicity and cultural aspects due to immigration from other countries. In all these cases, the adult population keeps on increasing and this is an imperative factor for determining the provision of adult learning to all citizens, especially the adults. Technological and globalization issues in the society also impact on the manner in which adult education is to be structured. My view of adult learning before the course was that technology and globalization ought to be embedded in adult education so as to promote social equality and economic growth.

My Current View of Adult Learning

My initial view about adult education is in line with those I had before going through this course though with an expanded view.  Issues concerning adult education premise and instructional blueprint that I have acquired so far are advanced. I have understood explicit issues implicated in adult learning including practicality, experience, and self-driven learners. I have also noted that various scholars provide a description of the significance or the value transformative learning or teaching (for the case of educators) in the adult education practice. Knowles, et al, (2005) affirms that students in these non-conventional forms of learning have to be handled with care by embracing their views especially when learners are placed in situations that seem hard for them to learn. I have appreciated this as a critical aspect of reflective learning which is based on autonomous education and individual skills.

It has also dawned on me after going through various studies conducted by scholars that putting in place motivating teaching for the adult student ought to entail understanding ways to attract the learner’s concentration, creating relevance, promoting confidence in them, and producing a pleasing adult learning experience. Integrating personal experience of the learner into the teaching model evokes the intrinsic motivation of the learner so as to deepen their desire or drive to learn. My understanding of adult learning has now expanded as I have noted that adult learning does not occur in a vacuum. What an individual intends to learn, the opportunities available, and the manner in which one learns are determined by the society in which the individual lives. Demographics, globalization, and technology are three aspects that affect the society’s endeavors, including adult learning (Merriam, 2007).

My comprehension of the effects of technology on adult learning have also been augmented as I have realized that technology is integral to the global economy and has contributed to the information shift to an information society, which is creating immense changes in the workforce. It has also come to my knowledge that adult education system both reflects and responds to the forces prevalent in the socio-cultural context such as economic productivity.  The assertions by Gessner (1956) in which he affirms that one of the main differences between usual and adult learning is inherent in the education practice have also challenged my view on adult education. I have noted that when teaching, the students’ experiences are as importance as those of the educator’s knowledge. At times difficult to note who is learning more than the other, the teacher or the students.

I have understood adult education as some form of transformative learning in which the instructor’s role a promoter who creates an integrated approach by incorporating reflective learning into the learning curriculum. The instructor is expected to create openness through offering a safe learning environment so that students can be apt in sharing their personal experiences (Merriam, 2007). My understanding of adult education has now been advanced as I have noted that creating opportunities for ongoing dialogue between learners and educators ought to an ongoing deliberate process so as to provide ongoing feedback, shared support and coaching. This is an imperative facet especially when dealing with adult learners from.............


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