Theories of Adult Learning Term Paper by scribbler

Theories of Adult Learning
A review of the theories of adult learning and their application to the learning environment.
# 153535 | 2,643 words | 8 sources | APA | 2013 | US
Published on Jun 10, 2013 in Education (Theory) , Education (Adult Education)

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The paper relates that American practitioner and theorist of adult education, Malcolm Knowles, formulated the theory and model he called andragogy that consists of assumptions on how adults learn. The paper explains the principles of adult learning, the motivations and barriers to motivation in adults and tips for effective instruction of adults. The paper then explores the major theories of adult learning that include self-directed learning (SDL), transformational learning (TL), experiential learning theory (ELT), project-based learning and problem-based learning, and outlines the strategies and applications of each theory.

Adult Learning: Andragogy
Adult Learning Principles
Major Theories

From the Paper:

"Adult learners need to be motivated. Their sources of motivation are social relationships, external expectations, social welfare, personal advancement, escape or stimulation, and cognitive interest (Lieb, 1991). They need to form new friendships and become part of groups. They must comply with instructions, expectations and recommendations by significant persons. They need to feel they are helping advance the welfare of mankind through their contribution or participation. They want to advance to a higher status in their job, profession and to remain at par with competitors. They need to escape boredom and routine. They want to learn more for the sake of learning. They also seek knowledge for its own sake and satisfy their inquisitive mind (Lieb).
"Responsibilities often present as barriers and adult learners must know how to balance with responsibilities (Lieb, 1991). These may be a lack of time, money, interest or confidence, opportunities for learning, busy schedule, child care or transportation problems. The teacher or instructor must capitalize on the adult learner's reason for enrolling while reducing or addressing the barriers. The teacher must then attune the motivating strategy around these barriers. She can encourage him by explaining how training can bring about a desired outcome, such as a job promotion (Lieb)."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Chen, I. (2008). Constructivism. College of Education: University of Houston. Retrievedon June 6, 2011 from
  • Corley M. A. (2008). Experiential learning theory. California Adult Literacy Professional Development Project. CALPRO: California Department of Education. Retrieved on June 13, 2011 from
  • Kolb, D. A. et al (1999). Experiential learning theory. "Perspectives on Cognitive Learning and Thinking Style." Lawrence Erlbaum: University of Minnesota Duluth.Retrieved on June 13, 2011 from
  • Lewis, L. K. (2011). Experiential learning style. eHow: Retrieved on June 16, 2011 from
  • Lieb, S. (1991). Principles of adult learning. University of Hawaii. Retrieved on June 13, 2011 from

Cite this Term Paper:

APA Format

Theories of Adult Learning (2013, June 10) Retrieved December 09, 2023, from

MLA Format

"Theories of Adult Learning" 10 June 2013. Web. 09 December. 2023. <>