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Critically discuss the key factors contributing to adult learning

Extracts from this essay...

Introduction

Critically discuss the key factors contributing to adult learning There are many different theories to explain how people learn. What follows is a variety of them, and how useful it is to consider their application to how people learn. It is interesting to think about your own particular way of learning and to recognise that everyone does not learn the way you do. This assignment aims to study a range of learning styles and look at my own personal style and to look at a range of theories of learning. I am going to reflect on the implications of my own particular learning style for my person development. There are various learning styles, which are centred on the following schools of thought Behaviourist, Cognitive, Humanist, Experiential, Social Learning and Andragogical. The behaviourist approach is very much based on 'input - output' or stimuli-response, which operate on a cause and effect principle. This is a very reductionist learning style - learning is reduced to component parts that follow set rules. New data has to link with previous learning and if possible be presented in a familiar way to the learner. Learning needs to be frequently reinforced and information can be recalled by the use of key triggers or 'stimuli'.

Middle

Thoughtfulness, being methodical and good listening are all strengths for reflectors but I may need to take into consideration their weaknesses, Reflectors for example tend to endlessly rehearse the past, are overly cautious and they tend to come across as reluctant participators. There are many different theories of how people learn. In recent decades cognitive and social learning theories have all been influential. Burns clearly includes motivation in his definition of learning, "learning is a relatively permanent change in behaviour with behaviour including both observable activity and internal processes such as thinking, attitudes and emotions" (Burns, 1995). The cognitive learning approach emphasises the importance of learning meaning and problem solving. Burns notes that this learning theory has developed the concept that individuals have different needs and concerns at different times and have subjective interpretations in different contexts. Experiential learning theory asserts that without reflection we would simply continue to repeat our mistakes. Kolb produced a four stage learning process (diagram on page 2), which is usually describing experiential learning. Kolb's research found that people learn in four ways with the likihood of developing one mode of learning more than another. The 'experiential learning cycle' is: through concrete experience, reflection (replay the experience and attend to feelings), discusses the experience with others, consider implications (analyse and clarify the experience)

Conclusion

Since starting my course on Care Practice I believe I have matured in the few months I have been studying. Both mentally and practically. I am generally a quiet person and one who is very willing and eager to learn. I would tend to absorb a lot and know theoretically what to do or how to deal with a situation, but still lack the confidence to be able to take charge. I know my confidence will increase with time, age and maturity. I do not centre activity on myself therefore preferring to stay in the background and be of great help to anyone who needs me. I know that one day I will develop to be able to take charge as I have the desire to be a leader. I am good at listening to other people and although at the moment I do not have enough of life's experiences to advise people on, that will change as time goes by. I believe my experiences so far; on this course have helped me become more assertive. In conclusion I have summarised a range of learning styles and theories that can be applied in educational context. Teaching and learning activities can be designed and implemented to take principles of learning into account. Also it is interesting to think about individual differences among learners and work towards including activities that have variety of interest for all the learners in educational programmes.

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