Adult Learning in a Technology Influenced World
Adult learning is a hot topic today amongst educators. They must learn to deal with adults across varied age groups, cultural classes and philosophical spectrums. It is not as simple as it was a century ago. Education was structured for the institution and teacher and not the learner.
In her article, Sharan Merriam writes that over the last decade adult learning methods and theories have changed to “how learning enables the individual to become more empowered and independent” (Merriam, 2008). As adult learning changes our system must adjust and change too. Learning venues have changed due to culture, family and technology changes. As an adult matures physically, so to must the teaching styles change to keep up with them (Merriam, 2008). The author summarizes three areas that must be focused on to address adult learners. They are increased attention to content, understanding the multidimensional nature of learning and fostering adult learning. In summary, learners must nurture their own “mind, body, spirit and emotions” to learn (Merriam, 2008).
Another article that closely echoes this message is Whatever Happened to Learning by Honour Moore. She states that motivations for adult learners have changed over time. Many adults are now getting degrees because they need them and not because they want them (Moore, 2009). Adults are driven to continue their education because of jobs or salary concerns. The desire for learning is being lost. We are motivated differently, therefore we must educate differently to fuel that desire. Institutions must change their learning methods and strategies in order to motivate today’s learners. The author suggests things like weekend intensive courses or traveling studies to peak interest in adult learners.
Both articles speak to the points of changing learning venues with needs. In order to create good learners, institutions must create innovative...