Motivating the Adult Learner Term Paper

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Motivating the Adult Learner

Being educated through conventional mode of educational process involving the classroom and teacher motivated approaches, adult learners are perceived as unreceptive learners. Society is characterized by more of adults in comparison to the youths and with more number of matured adults the society as a whole is visualized as more educated and exhibits variety of culture and racial milieu. In order to maintain the current status of American Society amidst revolutionary changes in the knowledge bases, necessities for new capabilities and economic integration is felt highly essential to educate the human resource. The development of supporting technology facilitating provision of education at home and worksites attracted more number of adults to the formal education and pursuit of education through out the life has become their coveted goal.


forecast about the transformation of American Workforce during the 90s was made by Loden and Rosener. At the end of the decade it has been predicted the adult students would include more of women, racial minorities, employed workforce, more of parents, simultaneously necessitating increasing demand for child care services. A review of the classroom scenario in the year 2001 will conclude the substantial truth in these predictions. Substantial increase in the number of adult learners with no discrimination in terms of sex and race is being noticed day by day. Learning is not pursued only for its own sake. A totally different array of objectives and anticipation are attached to the adult learning than that is found among the younger generation. Simultaneously, the uneasiness and burden of the adult learners are more than that of the regular young students. The status of educational institutions is more influenced by the changed objectives and anticipations of these adult students. (Tight, 2002, p.17) difference in the objectives of pursuing education by the children and adults are being noticed. The burden of the adults needs to be equilibrated with their basic goals of pursuing education. The different responsibilities of the adult learners inhibit their active participation in the education process. Besides, inadequate time, self-confidence, prospects of learning, inappropriate scheduling, delay, responsibilities of childcare etc. also inhibits the learning process of adult learners. Practically, the report cards and gold medals do not drive the adult learners. They are more interested in practical learning experience that is capable of being used in their day-to-day working life. They therefore, prefer more practical classes that increased their skill to the traditional theoretical classes. To exemplify, the adult leaner is more interested in learning a spreadsheet software package after knowing its usefulness in his working environment. (Mezirow, 1991, p.46)

The adult learner pursues an integrated learning process. The experiences and knowledge already attained by the adult learners are more associated with the learning approach. By associating the new knowledge with that of the knowledge base already attained makes the adult learning process easier being conceived of as a supplementation to the existing knowledge. Naturally, the adults revolt with a conflict in the existing knowledgebase and the new skills that the present learning process strives to infuse and therefore, necessitated to be resolved instantly. The new skills influence the performance of the workers and the adults should be aware of the importance of attaining the new skills. They should be aware of the necessity for adapting to the value adjustments that is the changing needs of the skills and approaches to the performance of a particular work over time. They should be well convinced of the fact of benefits of these changes to the organization as a whole. (Brockett, 1983, p.7)

The adult learners always desire to keep the learning experiences under their sole management. The traditional classroom teaching of the K-12 schooling is characterized by the teacher motivates approaches. However, the adult learning process promotes student interactions and active participation in the training process as well as in development of the training content. The adult learners demand more flexibility in formation of the assignments so as to make it cater to their basic objectives and goals. The hands-on training sessions must be purposefully designed. A mere repetition so as to practice is not beneficial to the adult learners. It should be meaningful so as to influence the learning process of the adults. The adults are observed to be little bit slower in respect of the physical and psychological tasks in comparison to that of the children. The rate of committing mistakes among adult learners is seemingly less and such one often strives to be more exact. (Brookfield, 1986, p.22)

The risks involved in the trial and error methods are avoided by them and tried to be more exact. They are keen to practice their learning in the sphere of home, work place and assignments. The primary objective of committing fewer mistakes impels them to be more clarified on the assignments than the conventional learners. Since the acquisition of psychomotor skills among the adults seems to slower than the younger students it is prescribed that the adults should be given enough flexibility to pursue at their own pace. There should be ready availability of the academic counseling in order to set the prime objectives of the learners prior to pursuing a particular module. The support services helps in infusing confidence among the students in pursuing the studies. (Merriam; Caffarella, 1991, p.31)

Programs for supporting mentoring, encouraging interactive and collaborative learning are some of these support services which also includes the traditional skill development approaches. A relationship between the easy admission and registration process and successful retention of the program is visualized in the adult learning process. The location of the classrooms and the devising of suitable course schedules are favorable to the adult learners in view their time constraint and other responsibilities. Besides the educational institutions also should organize and encourage co-curricular activities in order to maintain the socio-cultural integration. (Pratt, 1984, p.28)

Question arises as to the integration of the self-oriented activities in the course curriculum. It is not asserted especially from the view point of the instructors facing both the adult and young learners simultaneously. Instructors must essentially aware of the methods of adult learning. Special learning requirements are felt among the adults in comparison to the children and teens. However, adult learning system is of recent origin than that of the traditional learning. The needs for newer knowledge base and updating the current knowledge of the adults are felt necessary in emerging 21st century scenario. (Tice, 1997, p.20)

The present day development of online reference libraries enables accessibility to information of varied interest. Different careers among the adults of advanced nations are evident in view of the changing job opportunities and changing job requirements. The attainment of skills anticipated to be most essential during the next century includes identifying problems amidst strange environments, which may be similar to the past situations however with a different form. Understanding the problems fully gives rise to the means of their solutions. The formulation and solutions of problems require utilization of the information technology tools. (Caffarella, 2002, p.71)

The process of formulation and solutions of problems sometimes seems to be simple and at some other time are found to be more complicated. The skills to be acquired also include the communicating skills that enable communication among the cultural and ethnical diversities. The diversities in cultural milieu has become increasingly prominent both intra and internationally. However, the smooth operation of political and social institutions necessitates some common values and insights, in absence of which the conflicts are imminent. Another skill need to be acquired is the leadership qualities that encourage formation and working in cooperation of teams often consisting of diversified people. Even though pursued intensively in college careers yet considered most significant in the workplaces. (Brockett, 1983, p.8)

With increasing interdependence the significance of communication skills and skills to work in cooperation as teams is increasingly felt. The skill to identify the appropriate field to be mastered and the means to master them effectively is considered as the next ability to be acquired. The tools of emerging information technology presently provide wide scope for learning and it is essential that everybody should update his knowledge in the sphere. In the words of Entwhistle, deep learning is considered essential in these areas. The deep learning involves association of the already acquired knowledge and experience with the current learning, applying them in the practical field and deducing effective conclusions. Deep learning is considered a difficult task. It is evident from the researches undertaken that even the outstanding students some times unaware of the basic underlying ideas of the subject upon which they have expertise. (Caffarella, 2002, p.73)

When some thing is considered worth learning it should be learnt with adequate inspiration. The adult learners prefer a practical approach to their learning process. Before pursuing the studies they are more inclined to know about the relevance, outcomes as the motivating factors. Therefore identifying the exact need of the learning experience and its relevance in their practical field is a critical issue. To…[continue]

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