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Adult Learners and Diversity

You have been hired to teach a credit-based community college course. The course has 35 learners ranging in age from 17-70. You must develop the course to meet the needs of your learners.
Analyze fundamental principles of adult education including biological, physiological, sociocultural, and cognitive factors that will have an impact on the diverse demographics of your adult learners.

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1. Analyze fundamental principles of adult education including biological, physiological, socio-cultural, and cognitive factors that will have an impact on the diverse demographics of your adult learners.

Malcolm Knowles pioneered the field of adult learning. He identified the following characteristics of adult learners:

· Adults are autonomous and self-directed.
· Adults have accumulated a foundation of life experiences and knowledge that may include work-related activities, family responsibilities, and previous education.
· Adults are goal-oriented.
· Adults are relevancy-oriented.
· Adults are practical, focusing on the aspects of a lesson most useful to them in their work.
· As do all learners, adults need to be shown respect. (see attached resources, which expands on each of these characteristics).

According to Kuhne (2000), the following ten characteristics of adult learners will impact how you teach adult learners. Kuhne incorporates the above characterizes stated by Knowles, including biological, physiological, socio-cultural, and cognitive factors. They are:

1. Characteristic #1 - Adults Generally Desire to Take More Control Over Their Learning Than Youth

Adults tend to be self-directed in their lives, although responsibilities with jobs, families, and other organizations can remove a degree of their freedom to act. Adulthood brings an increasing sense of the need to take responsibility for our lives and adults strongly resent it when others take away their rights to choose. This fact is clearly seen in educational efforts among adults. When not given some control over their learning, most adults will resist learning and some will even attempt to sabotage education efforts. They do not like being relegated to a "passive" position.

Implications:
· Always seek to include the adult in the planning of educational efforts.
· Allow for self-assessment and evaluation
· Understand adult learners desire a peer relationship with instructors, rather than a hierarchical one.
· Recognize that adults also expect greater availability of instructors.

2. Characteristic #2 - Adults Draw Upon Their Experiences as a Resource in Their Learning Efforts More Than Youth

The adult's experience is a key resource in any learning effort. Adults have a greater reservoir of life experiences simply because they have lived longer ...

Solution Summary

This solution analyzes the fundamental principles of adult education e.g. characteristics of adult learners including biological, physiological, sociocultural, and cognitive factors that will have an impact on the diverse demographics of adult learners. Specifically, it applies the principles and characteristics of adult learners to teaching strategies.

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