Engaging the Adult Learner
Adult learners are goal-oriented and full of life experiences both in their working life and educational backgrounds. They are characterized by maturity, reality, values, and beliefs that affect their motivation, as well as their ability to learn. Educators must connect with the adults, reach out, understand and engage their audience effectively.
Adult learners engage life decisions every day. They are parents, spouses, workers, students, and in many cases, their decisions can affect others. Adults have a broad, rich experience base to the learning situation which relate to new learning. When they enter to a new learning situation they pay closer attention because they have experienced a need in their life which is relevant to their learning efforts (Ross-Gordon, 2003). Adults are more often motivated “to satisfy needs or achieve goals” (Harrison, 1993, p. 10). They are goal-oriented and will therefore appreciate a course of training that is well-organized and has clearly defined elements. Those needs or goals might change overtime but consciously the learner has to decide their desire to stay motivated. Adult learners are also practical because they can focus to the aspect of the lesson as it relates their work.
According to Knowles (1984), andragogy is the most common framework of the adult learning, is described “… as the art and science of helping adults learn” (p. 43). In his own terms andragogy is simply an assumption compared with pedagogy which is another characteristic of learners and “… the art and science of teaching children” (p. 43). These assumptions were seen by many educators as the most important and influential ideas in education.
Self-directed learning was emerged “as one of the most challenged assumptions within andragogy” (Ross-Gordon, 2003, p. 44). It is also defined "as a process by which people identify their learning needs, set goals, choose how to learn, gather materials, and evaluate their...