Contributed by: jvande
Over the Christmas break I was doing some reading and came across an unusual link that directly related to my research project. Although the link is meant for the website "Office for Victims of Crime", the site has a section on Adult Learning and excerpts from a text called "The Ultimate Educator" by Edmunds, C., K. Lowe, M. Murray, and A. Seymour, 1999. This looks to be extremely promising and after having quickly read some of the material can immediately relate. The site quotes Malcolm Knowles when he says that adult students are different from regular students in four ways. Quoting verbatim:
- As they mature, adults tend to prefer self-direction. The role of the instructor is to engage in a process of inquiry, analysis, and decision-making with adult learners, rather than to transmit knowledge.
- Adults' experiences are a rich resource for learning. Active participation in planned experiences—such as discussions or problem solving exercises, an analysis of those experiences, and their application to work or life situations—should be the core methodology for training adults. Adults learn and retain information more easily if they can relate it to their reservoir of past experiences.
- Adults are aware of specific learning needs generated by real-life events such as marriage, divorce, parenting, taking a new job, losing a job, and so on. Adult learners' needs and interests are the starting points and serve as guideposts for training activities.
- Adults are competency-based learners, meaning that they want to learn a skill or acquire knowledge that they can apply pragmatically to their immediate circumstances. Life or work-related situations present a more appropriate framework for adult learning than academic or theoretical approaches.
The link for this valuable resource is http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/ovc/assist/instructor/section2.html and makes for good reading.