Think About…Principles of Adult Learning

Every Thursday we’ll be presenting a new tidbit of information for you to ponder. Here’s this Thursday’s “think about” related to adult learning:

According to Malcolm Knowles, an American adult learning theorist, there are 6 principles of adult learning:

  • Adults are internally motivated and self-directed
  • Adults bring life experiences and knowledge to learning experiences
  • Adults are goal oriented
  • Adults are relevancy oriented
  • Adults are practical
  • Adult learners like to be respected

Check out the pdf here for more explanation and information.

Think about these principles and take a moment to jot down your thoughts in your journal. What do these things mean to you? How might they give insight into yourself as an adult learner? How might they help you maximize your own and others’ learning?

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Categories: Stage 1: Adult Learning and Leadership

5 replies

  1. I really like these principles, but how do you see children being different?

    When students arrive to elementary school they are extremely intrinsically motivated to learn, they are bursting with excitement (of course that wanes during the years spent in school…) – and they really do build on their own experiences about the world (hence some interesting misconceptions).

    Kids have their own goals, which might not be graduation, but more an intrinsic goal (to find out, to understand).

    Relevant and meaningful learning is important for children, too, but they are more malleable and can be derailed more easily than adults as they try to be obedient.

    Practical as hands on? I really don’t see children be very theoretical, you know….

    And, children really need to be respected if you want the to learn what respectful behaviour is. I am often dismayed to see how students are herded and treated like alien species.

    Please don’t get me wrong. I do like Knowles and his theory (which was actually about informal learning) and I DO think these all are important items for every learner. Any student, anywhere needs to be taught with keeping these principles in mind!

  2. Hello Team. I was reading your post and wanted to know more details in your PDF. It mentions I cannot download it. I gives me a black screen. Is it just me? Thank you for your knowledge and sources.

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