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Research Paper: Adult Education - Essay Example

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Adult education, also referred to as continued learning, refers to the enrolment of adults in formal instructional and educational programs for the explicit purpose of betterment through the expansion of their available career options and opportunities, among others (DeWitt, 2003; Manning, 2003)…
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Research Paper: Adult Education

Download file to see previous pages... Indeed, Keenan (2002) concedes to as much upon noting that a large array of factors incites adult learning, even as he fails to precisely articulate them. Instead, and while admitting to the import of understanding that which makes adults enrol in continuing learning programs, Keenan (2002) determines the identification of the characteristics of adult learners to be as important and, possibly, a more attainable objective than the former.
In his analysis of the characteristics and attributes of adult learners, Keenan (2002) determines the presence of notable difference between the latter and traditional learners. The latter, adult learners, are typically over the age of 30, participate in both formal and non-formal learning environments, bring considerable personal and professional experience with them into the classroom, have a marked preference for collaborative learning, are action oriented and, consequent to both professional and personal commitments, have very limited amounts of spare time. The implication here is that the adult learner wants his/her experiences to be valued and demands that both assignments and projects be tailored to meet his/her professional experience and extra-curricular responsibilities in that they do not consume too much of the adult learner's time. Should adult learning programs satisfy the stated and, more importantly, should they be tailored towards greater relevance to the learner's professional experiences, not only will the adult student find the program more engaging but he/she will find the support extended to them by their employee, whether educational subsidy or time off for study purposes, justifiable.
Proceeding from the above stated, a Department of Education's study on adult education, arrived at much of the same conclusions regarding the characteristics and motivations of adult learners (Kim, Hagedorn, Williamson and Chapman, 2004). The mentioned study, however, extends beyond the parameters of the first in its provision of demographic information on adult learners. As Kim et al (2004) found that 45 percent of adults attended college or university programs on a part-time basis, 35 percent participated in work related training and 21 percent attended courses for personal interests/reasons. The remainder did not provide a reason for their studies.
Proceeding from Keenan (2002) and Kim et al.'s (2004) assertions, this research seeks to identify if the target group as adult learners are attracted to life-long learning as delivered through cognitive educational paradigms or active educational paradigms. Cognitive education involves the formal classes that require thinking and intellectual focus such as language, history, and finance. Active education classes, also referred to the informal courses, revolve around activities which tend towards the entertaining and include, among others, cooking, drawing, and dancing. Adult student attend classes either ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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