PIDP 3100 Journal 2– Problem Centered Adults

“Adults are problem-centered, not subject-centered, and desire immediate, not postponed application of the knowledge learned.”[1]

This quote by Knowles is part of his assumptions of Andragogy[2],

  • As we age, our self-concept moves from dependency to self-direction (Knowles 1980)
  • An adult’s accumulated experience is a learning resource and is integral to identity (Knowles 1980)
  • Readiness to learn is correlated to social role (Knowles 1980)
    • Roles in society create need for learning[3] and create teachable moments[4]
  • Application of knowledge shifts from future to present as we age. Thus an adult is problem centered in learning (p. 44-45) (Knowles 1980)
    • Adults are problem-centered, not subject centered, and desire immediate, not postponed application of the knowledge learned[5]
  • Adults are motivated internally by potential for growth, development and self actualization (Knowles & Assoc. 1984)
  • Adults need to know the reason for the learning (Knowles 1984)
    • Knowing importance before beginning learning increases motivation[6]

I have learned that a self-dependent experienced adult who is ready for problem-centered leaning and immediate knowledge application. What caught my attention was the problem-centered learning and its meaning.

 

“Adults are problem-centered, not subject-centered, and desire immediate, not postponed application of the knowledge learned.”

I realized that the traditional method of doling out facts to adults is not engaging them properly. Adults need to see results, not just hear facts.

A teacher should be engaging the students by giving hands on discovery. Showing them the immediate results and letting them try it for themselves. If you show how to solve a problem, whether it’s a calculus equation or a faulty brake line, the adult learner needs to tackle the problem and see the result.

 “Adults are problem-centered, not subject-centered, and desire immediate, not postponed application of the knowledge learned.”

 

My “Aha” moment was when I realized how the students felt when our lectures dragged on for two weeks with no labs. It is my observation that the adult students need to perform the practical part of the learning to really “know it.”  The students were anxious to prove the theories to themselves.

The quote made me think that, as an adult educator, I have to ensure that the students get immediate application of their learning, or as soon as possible.

One analogy could be that you can’t learn to fly an aircraft by watching Youtube.

A key insight is that I have also feel it necessary to apply knowledge immediately after learning it. Often, it is difficult to apply new knowledge to a practical problem unless the knowledge is still fresh in my mind.

“Adults are problem-centered, not subject-centered, and desire immediate, not postponed application of the knowledge learned.”

This quote has reinforced my preconception that students need immediate practical experience to complete their learning.

As a teacher, I need to keep their learning schedules balanced between practical applications and learning theory. I also need to ensure that my classroom has a positive learning environment and the lectures are meaningful, relevant and of importance.

 References

Adult Learning: Linking Theory and Practice – (Merriam and Bierema, Jossey-Bass 2014)

Andragogy, not Pedagogy – (M.S. Knowles 1968, Adult Leadership-16[10], p. 350-352, 386)

The Modern Practice of Adult Education: From Pedagogy to Andragogy. (2nd edition) – (M.S. Knowles 1980, New York: Cambridge Books)

The Adult Learner: A Neglected Species (3rd edition) – (M.S. Knowles 1984, Houston: Gulf)

Andragogy in Action: Applying Modern Principles of Adult Learning – (M.S. Knowles & Associates 1984, San Francisco: Jossey-Bass)

The Adult Learner: (7th edition) – (M.S. Knowles; E.F. Holton III; R.A. Swanson 2011, Houston: Gulf)

[1] Merriam & Bierema 2014 p. 53

[2] Andragogy – from Greek aner (man) + agogus (leader of). Popularized by Knowles (1968)

[3] Merriam & Bierema 2014 p. 51

[4] Merriam & Bierema 2014 p. 52

[5] Merriam & Bierema 2014 p. 53

[6] Merriam & Bierema 2014 p. 55

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