By Dessy Barnaby

Part 1: Identifying the characteristic of Adult as learner.

Adult learning was first pioneered by Malcolm Knowles; Malcolm highlighted few characteristics we need to know in order to understand the adult as learner:

  • Self-directed: as learner adult appreciate more if they are allowed to get involved in the learning process and become the participant to work in the project of their interests.
  • Have accumulated life experience: as learner adults are able to relate what they learn to their life experience, it can be work related or personal experience. Under these circumstances we have to be able to create learning through experience.
  • Relevancy related: as learner they must see the relevance in learning. Different with children, adult need to be shown the relevancy and objectives before even the course begin.
  • Goal oriented: adults are aware of their goals upon their enrollment so it’s the facilitator’s role to first set and introduce the objectives that will help them achieve those goals.
  • Practical: adults as learner might focus mainly on the important aspects of the lesson that is most useful to them. They may not come in for the knowledge sake however facilitator needs to show the practicality aspects that will be useful to them in their work field.

The above characteristics are important for us in order to understand adults as learner. As all learners, adults like to be shown respect too.

Facilitators have to be able to respect the experience and knowledge they bring to class and most importantly allow them to express their opinion and gain the respect and acknowledgement as equal.