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Adult Learning Continuum

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The various adult learning theorists bring a variety of perspectives and ideas about how adults learn and the best methods to help them learn. Compare the theorists, from classical to contemporary, on a spectrum that shows how they are different. Plot the theorists on a spectrum of instructor centered to learner centered. Show how these theorists fall on a spectrum from behaviorist to onstructivist to radical.

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As you compile your matrix, please infuse some of these ideas below to guide you. Please note that many areas overlap.

First, you might cite the behaviorists on one extreme of instructor-centered theorists such as: Skinner, BF. Mager, R. M. Gagne', M.D. Merrill, and an array of other scholars. These ideologies maintain that meaning or learning is separate from students' personal experiences. In other words, these theories relate more to knowledge acquisition. A major part of these theories involves specific, measurable goals. The approach to this theory is behavioral; it emphasizes immediate, observable changes in students' behavior. Main features include: Positive and negative reinforcements, the use of punishment, focus on mastery learning, reliance on Operant Conditioning Theory, Nine Events of Instruction, etc. They also employ Learning Hierarchies. The learning process is traditional ...

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This posting explains the adult learning continuum.