Learning is the process of gaining knowledge. This is achieved with the help of various methods. For adults, knowledge is gained through learning, but adult education is conducted differently from the normal learning process. This paper takes into account the concept of andragogy, which involves the theory of adult education. Adult education and learning process is influenced by various factors and educational principles, which affect learning and adults teaching methods. Consequently, the essay also looks into the implication of the adult education theory and investigates how the adult education theory and principles influence the instructional method used in adult classes. Finally, since learners come from diverse cultural backgrounds, it is important to take into consideration the cultural differences when preparing learning and teaching methods. The paper presents the strategies for cultural competency in adult teaching and learning process. If the aspect of cultural competency is not enhanced and modified to fit the education circles, it may lead to interference in the learning process. Harmonization of different values and cultural norms are useful tools in adult learning.
Adult Education Theory
Adults learn differently from children. The reason for this fact is that when people mature, their preferences change. For instance, adults learn for its immediate usage while children learn to apply knowledge later in life. This is why the used methodology is different from the normal classroom teaching. Effective adult education demands that the educators have to understand how adults learn, thus the need for the theory of education is reinforced, which discerns the concept of Andragogy (Wilson, 2006). The theory states that adult learning process is problem-based, goal-oriented, and collaborative. It is a learning process, which emphasizes equality between the learner and the teacher, and it is application based. According to Knowles (1980), who is a theorist in adult education, Andragogy is an art and science by which adults get assistance in their learning process. He further underscored that there are principles, which dictate adult learning. They include the internal motivation of adults to learn. The reason is that adults are objective in their learning. Secondly, adults apply their life experiences and prior knowledge to their learning experiences. They are practical in their learning and always want to earn respect from their peers and teachers (MacKeracher, 2004).
Implication of Adult Education Theories in the Teaching and Learning Process
The adult learning theory has a direct influence on how teaching and learning in an adult class is conducted. While considering the application of self-motivated, transformative, and finally experiential learning in adult education, a framework is provided on how education takes place in the adult learning process. In case of self-motivated learning, most adults are independent. This means that educators must consider these issues when preparing for teaching adult learners. The preparation must be in accordance with the expectations of the adult learners due to the fact that it may further motivate the adult learner to perform all the instructions. Concerning experiential learning, learners utilize their experience to help them acquire knowledge (Rogers, 2007). Taking this into consideration, educators must allow learners to reflect, share, and relate their life experience in the learning process. Adults also use transformative learning or introspection as a method of acquiring knowledge (Wilson, 2006). When these three paradigms are put together, they determine the exact way of the learning process. They can further make the learning process easier for adult learners because it is student-centered. Emphasizing the comparison and allowing learners to relate their life experiences enormously allows learners to get the practical aspect of learning. This leads to the main goal of adult education, which primarily aim is problem solving. Learning which cannot lead to the solution of problem is not appropriate for adult learners. This aspect prompts the educators to prepare adequate materials which are relevant to solve contemporary problems.
Strategies for facilitating Cultural Competence in Adult Learners
According to Billings and Halstead (2009), adult learning has different conceptions of cultural diversity. The diverse cultural origins and orientations may bring disharmony to the learning process. Therefore, there has to be a critical analysis of different cultures to allow effective learning to take place. Cultural differences call for self-awareness and appreciation of other cultures. Harmonizing cultural beliefs in the learning process will enable learners to have diversity of thoughts and inclusive knowledge (MacKeracher, 2004). Every adult learner has a unique personality, cultural orientation and background. Experiences grounded on different values, cultural norms and traditions inform the learning processes. Culturally sensitive and responsive methods in inter-cultural communication engender respect and tolerance of diverse opinions. Respect is the key to adult learning since it is aduls’ intrinsic feature to be respected (MacKeracher, 2004). The instructional methods must also be designed in a manner that depicts the solution to the current problem at hand. The introduced material should be relevant to the adults’ needs and expectations (Billings & Halstead, 2009).
The theory of adult learning is best defined as meeting adult learners’ requirements. The expectations and the motives for adults in education are different from those of young learners. Andragogy thus best explains this fact and helps in designing the learning strategies for adults. The theory further brings the understanding of how people learn. This helps to take all technical moments into consideration and design the learning process for adults. Adults have basic knowledge and concepts of life and it is vital to understand the background of their conceptions. Moreover, it is crucial to help them appreciate other cultures unknown to them, which is important in their learning process. The theory of adult learning is a key while designing adult learning models and techniques.