Adult Learning Theory Vs Experiential Learning

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Adult Learning Theory Vs Experiential Learning

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How to Implement Adult Learning Theory (Andragogy) in the Workplace.

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Behaviorism is very common in training programs where a standard outcome is desired, such as health and safety demonstrations or company policy seminars. In a situation where instructors do not need participation or action from learners, this type of learning can be of benefit. With an engaging trainer and incentives for learners who do well, behaviorism can be folded into a company training program easily. However, this should not be the only type of training that a learner receives. Critics find behaviorism to be quick to disengage learners and can lead to them not remembering important information effectively.

This theory was developed as a rejection of behaviorism and stated that learners were far more active in the learning process than behaviorists claim. Cognitivism can be very effective in scenarios when a learner is able to reflect on the knowledge gained and then apply it to their own work. For example, after a week-long training seminar, a learner can be encouraged to take a morning to reflect on what they have learned and consider the ways that this new information can be applied in their role. To use cognitivism in training, instructors should ensure that the information is presented in such a way that it is made meaningful to the learner.

Analogies and metaphors can be especially helpful for this, as well as concept mapping. Successful instructors will structure new information in such a way that it clearly shows how it relates to existing knowledge. If using this theory in a workplace training program, be cautious of overburdening learners with information. Cognitive overload can happen when a learner has been given too much information without enough time to process it. This theory states that knowledge is created not by transmission from instructor to the learner, but rather by a learner creating meaning for themselves. In constructivism, instructors act as facilitators for learners, asking questions, and providing informational resources that learners can use to explore the concepts being taught.

Using assimilation and accommodation, learners will use their existing knowledge, experiences, and beliefs to gain an understanding of new concepts. In the workplace, this theory can be seen in action when employees write self-reviews, grouping learners into teams to learn new concepts, or engage in mentorship programs. The instructor should be just as active as the learner, providing guidance while learners use the information provided to create their own meanings. This theory is useful in demonstrating proper workplace behavior. Managers act as role models, demonstrating what is acceptable, rewarding employees who follow their lead and providing correction in a uniform manner to those who do not follow the modeled behavior.

Instructors should be clear about what they are demonstrating and can use anecdotes, role-play, or training videos to reinforce the information. Drawing from the idea that learners will be more engaged if the instructor is respected, successful programs should use instructors who are well regarded within the organization. Social learning theory will not serve your organization well if there is not uniformity. Learners will be quick to see if there are favorites, or if negative behavior carries no consequences. Instructors should be careful to be even-handed and fair. All of these theories can be used alone or in blended training programs. Learners will differ in how they respond to training, and it is always helpful to have information presented in a few different ways so that you can ensure that your workforce is well-informed, competent, and safe.

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Knowledge Hub. Download Guide. Digital Transformation of the Workforce Learn insights about the benefits of proactive retraining and reskilling, and how you can better understand the economics of learning. Download White Paper. What are adult learning theories? The way that adults and children learn differ in many important ways: Adults tend to be more self-motivated, as they understand the value of education and often have a solid goal in mind when they begin studying. Children need higher levels of engagement, as they are less naturally motivated in learning situations. Adults can tap into their existing knowledge base to understand new concepts, while children are often approaching a new subject from an entirely blank slate.

Adults are much more able to self-direct to solve problems and learn new concepts, while children have a higher need for direction. Andragogy Andragogy means the art and science of teaching adults, as opposed to pedagogy, which is the art and science of teaching children. Developed in by Malcolm Knowles. Andragogy theory posits that the adult learner: Is much better suited to direct their own learning than a child learner. Uses their own knowledge base and life experience to aid in their learning. Will be engaged, present, and ready to learn when the material is of immediate relevance, such as in a new job, social, or life role.

Wants to be able to apply new information immediately to solve problems in their life. Needs to have a voice in both the planning and evaluation of their learning experience. It folds in concepts of how adults self-manage, creating a theory with the premise that the adult learner: Takes the initiative to understand what they need to learn. The learner sets learning goals, finds the resources they need, creates, and follows a learning plan, then they evaluate their own results.

Will seek out those who can help them, including teachers, mentors, or peers. Will respond positively to being in control of their own learning journey, putting in the time to make informed decisions, and incorporate learning on a daily basis. Transformational Learning This theory, developed by Jack Mezirow in , is concerned with the ability to use learning to transform the way that the learner views the world. This theory posits that through a teacher introducing new concepts, challenging assumptions, and disrupting perspectives, a learner: Can shift their world view in significant ways, resulting in a completely new frame of reference. Will have an easier time remembering the concepts taught, as the transformation includes behavior, thoughts, and beliefs.

In experiential learning, the learner will: Actively participate in the learning process. Reflect upon their experience after the participation stage, developing and firming the knowledge that they have gained. Consider the successes and failures of the learning process, in order to develop improvements for the next learning activity. In doing so, they will use abstract conceptualization to use the new skills that they have learned during the process. Project-based Learning This theory, developed by John Dewey in , centers around the idea of learning by doing, usually as a group.

The theory posits that learners: Acquire knowledge in a more holistic and deep fashion when they actively explore a real-world issue. Should work on this problem for an extended timeframe, investigating, developing, and testing the potential solutions, while using instructors for feedback on a regular basis. Will understand knowledge more completely as a result of having to actively apply it. Action Learning This theory was developed by Reg Revans in and is concerned with solving problems while simplifying solutions, often in a group dynamic.

In Action learning theory, learners: Follow a process of asking questions about the problem to better understand it, reflecting on what possible solutions might be, identifying the best one, and then finally taking action. After taking action, learners will then reflect again, questioning their process, the results, and how they could improve them. Build cohesiveness, gain the collaborative ability, and better understand group dynamics throughout the process. Following the idea of the spiral curriculum, Bruner presented the idea of three modes of representation.

These modes of representation refer to the way knowledge is stored in memory. As they move up through the levels, they feel more comfortable in their learning environment and have the confidence to push further. Further reading: simplypsychology. Howard Gardner is an American developmental psychologist and professor of cognition and education at the Harvard graduate school at Harvard University. Gardner perceived intelligence as the ability to solve problems or make products that are useful in one or more cultural settings.

Candidates had to satisfy a range of the conditions on his list and also be able to solve genuine problems of difficulties. Initially, Gardner named seven intelligences. Gardner suggested that the intelligences rarely operate independently and compliment each other as students learn new skills and solve problems. He also commented that the intelligences are amoral, meaning they can be used for constructive or destructive purposes.

In the face of criticism that it is hard to teach things in the frame of a certain intelligence, Gardner replied by stating that the seven intelligences give 7 ways to teach a subject, allowing multiple strategies to be used, thus allowing all students to make progress. Gardner believes that all seven intelligences are required to live life well and education systems should include all seven not just the more academic first two.

Since its original publication, Gardner has since added an eighth intelligence; Naturalist intelligence. According to Erikson, we experience eight stages of development during our life span. Within each stage, there is a dilemma that we must resolve in order to feel a sense of competence and will allow us to develop as a well-adjusted adult. Knowing what questions our students are asking of themselves and the world around them allows us to plan effectively. Problems arise when our class has children at different stages in it, in this case, we must carefully differentiate our pedagogy to allow supportive learning for all students.

David Kolb, an American education theorist proposed his four-stage experiential learning theory in It is built on the premise that learning is the acquisition of abstract concepts which can then be applied to a range of scenarios. Each stage in the cycle both supports and leads into the next stage. Learning is achieved only if all four stages have been completed, however, a learner may travel around the cycle multiple times, further refining their understanding of the topic. No one stage is an effective learning strategy on its own, for example, if the reflective observation stage is skipped, the learner could continue to make the same mistakes. Originally the book was supposed to be a satirical view on how people are promoted in organisations but it became popular as it actually made a valid point.

Whilst not strictly a learning theory, it does have some crossover to the classroom. The Peter Principal deals with four levels of competence. They could give a teacher planning a long term teaching strategy a framework to use when thinking about how students progress. Further Reading: Peter, L. The peter principle. Based on this research, providing visual prompts for students will enhance their learning. However, making your lessons a multi-sensual experience will enhance learning even further. From a classroom management perspective, positive reinforcement is an essential strategy for teaching students how to act and conduct themselves.

Positive reinforcement e. Initially, this should be done for all answers given, regardless of whether they are correct. This will build a culture of answering questions. As the behaviour in question becomes commonplace, the teacher should then both reduce the frequency of the reinforcement and, as in our above example, only give it for correct answers. Ultimately the teacher will reduce the frequency of the positive reinforcement to only those responses of the highest calibre. This will create a culture of desired excellence in the students.

Developed by the American psychologist Carl Rogers in the s , facilitative learning is a humanistic approach to learning. Humanism was developed to contrast cognitivism and behaviourism. Both Rogers and Maslow see above based their work in humanism. The key perspectives of humanism are as follows:. The success of the teacher is in their ability to build positive relationships with students.

The effectiveness of facilitative learning also requires certain traits to be present in the student. They should be motivated , aware of the facilitative conditions they have been provided with and aware that the task they have been given is useful, realistic and relevant. Assertive discipline is a structured system to enable teachers to manage their classrooms. It focuses on the teacher developing a positive behaviour management strategy rather than being dictatorial. The teacher should very clear boundaries as to how they expect their students to behave and work, the students should know what these boundaries are and any deviation should be met with an assertive action from the teacher. However, if the teacher gives a firm, clear instruction and those instructions are met, they should be followed by positive reinforcement see Skinner above.

Any deviation from the instruction should be met with negative consequences that the students have prior knowledge of. The behaviour management guru, Bill Rogers, bases his strategies on the assertive teacher model , which I know from personal use, works incredibly well. Rudolf Dreikur proposed the theory that mutual respect should be the basis for discipline and that this mutual respect motivates learners to display positive behaviours. He believed students have an innate desire to feel like an accepted member of a group and to feel like they have value and confidence to contribute to that group. The resulting misbehaviour is a misguided attempt at gaining the sense of belonging they are missing.

If a student fails to gain social status by gaining attention , they move on to trying to gain power and control, failure at each successive level ultimately ends with feelings of inadequacy. Gain Attention. Ignore the attention-seeking and use positive reinforcement when positive behaviour is shown. Distract the student by offering alternate actions or choices e. Gain Power and Control. Focus on all the good behaviour in the class, while ignoring the attempt to gain power, on no account should you engage in a battle for power.

Bill Rogers, the behaviour expert, calls this the black dot, white square approach. Gain Revenge. Remember that the student is trying to gain a sense of belonging and this revenge-seeking is a masked attempt to gain it. Away from other students, let the student know that you care about them and their education, that despite their actions you want the best for them. Display Feelings of Inadequacy. At this stage, the student has given up on themselves.

Students at this stage should be shown how to recognise small successes and achievements. Showing an interest in them and their work will always help slowly bring a student out of this stage. The truth is, great teaching involves a cocktail of most of these at some point and a few actual cocktails at the weekend to recover! I hope you found this article useful, I know it reminded me of a good few things that I may have been slacking with.

If you would like this article as a PDF , just click the button below. Through this interaction, new associations are made and thus leaning occurs. In cognitive load theory , learning occurs when the student reorganises information, either by finding new explanations or adapting old ones. Please share this article using the social media buttons! Fordham Edtech Resources. Contact me: paul teacherofsci. Writer at teacherofsci. Sign in. Forgot your password? Get help. Create an account. Password recovery. Learning Theories Best of teacherofsci. By Paul Fulbrook. What are Learning Theories? Swimming through treacle! Feel free to share this infographic by clicking on it.

Jean Piaget. Lev Vygotsky. How to Study. Benjamin Bloom. Jerome Bruner. Howard Gardner. Erik Erikson. David Kolb.

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