Adult learning theory grew out of the recognition that adult learners have different characteristics, goals, and conditions from children. That understanding has been reinforced by advances in neuroscience imaging. In parallel, scholars have developed models to address the motivation of adult learners. In almost every case where someone is motivated, the emotive learning needs are being met.
Discuss how differences in culture and learning environment may demand adjustments to motivate adult learners. Thinking of a course you teach or, if you don’t teach, one you have taken, consider the following:
- What could be revised in the course to improve adult learner motivation?
- Was cultural awareness integrated into the course? If not, how could it be? If so, what strategies were used?
- Was awareness of neuroplasticity theory incorporated into the course? If not, how could it be? If so, what strategies were used?
Sara’s situation illustrates how power and democracy influence learning. Each has a firm basis in the traditional cognitive and social foundations of learning as well as a considerable component that moves beyond those parameters. In the following readings, we explore emotive foundations of learning in the context of adult learning, including power, democracy, and alternative learning modes.
Alternatives to Tradition
· Merriam, S. B., & Bierema, L. L. (2014).
Adult learning: Linking theory and practice
. Chapter 7, “Body and Spirit in Learning,” pages 128–145.
. Chapter 8, “Motivation and Learning,” pages 146–167.
. In these chapters, the authors explore alternatives to traditional modes of learning. For some learners, having alternatives is sufficiently motivating; however, diverse factors affect motivation—increasingly so as a learner reaches and progresses through adulthood. Understanding those factors is essential to working with adult learners.
· Young, J. C. (2013).
Understanding transfer as personal change: Concerns, intentions, and resistance
. New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education, 2013(137), 71–82.
· This reading provides yet another perspective on motivation and resistance. Change can be difficult for some learners; avoiding the factors that lead to difficulty can greatly improve learning transfer.
In these chapters, the authors explore emotive elements of learning and concepts of wellness as foundational to optimal learning.
· Bresciani Ludvik, M. J. (Ed.). (2016).
The neuroscience of learning and development: Enhancing creativity, compassion, critical thinking, and peace in higher education
. Stylus Publishing.
. Chapter 6, “Enhancing Well-Being and Resilience,” pages 144–176.
. Chapter 7, “Enhancing Creativity” pages 177–193.
. Chapter 8, “Enhancing Compassion and Empathy,” pages 194–217.
. Chapter 9, “Balance Begets Integration: Exploring the Importance of Sleep, Movement, and Nature,” pages 218–233.
Power and Democracy in Learning
· Brookfield, S. D. (2013).
Powerful techniques for teaching adults
. Chapter 5, “Democratizing the Classroom,” pages 119–148.
. Chapter 6, “Teaching About Power,” pages 149–184.
. Chapter 7, “Teaching Using the Creative Arts,” pages 185–216.