Discuss the ideas of adult learning and adult education and the implication of the differences?

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litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Adult learning can occur for many purposes.  The purpose of the learning should determine the method of instruction, in part.  For example, some you would approach adult education for English learners differently than training for career development.  However, some factors will remain the same regardless of the purpose.  You always need to have a clear objective, keep direct instruction or lecture short and specific, allow for practice and feedback, and provide some kind of follow-up.

Adults need to be treated differently than children in a classroom environment.  They are independent, motivated learners.  Most of the time they do not like to have their time wasted.  They want to get in and out with the information, because they lead busy lives.  They do not want to sit and be lectured at.  This is why clear objectives are needed, to make sure that things are done smoothly and efficiently.

It is also important, especially in classes for ESL and career training, that adult learners get a chance to practice what they are learning.  The more they are able to use what they are using, the more they are likely to be able to apply it in their lives or their careers.  They are not studying something for a test like a younger student would be.  They are looking for something practical for the here and now.

Another important aspect of adult education is feedback.  Adult learners are very conscientious of whether or not they are effective in what they are doing.  Unlike a student who may be apathetic, an adult actually wants to learn and will be a willing receiver of your advice and constructive criticism.  If you provide follow-up to your instruction, you will get more buy-in and they will know that what they are doing is valuable and getting them somewhere.

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