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Utah Valley University | Fall 2019 | ASL3370.601 Sign to Spoken English

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Adult and self-directed learning

  • learning
  • adult
  • education
  • andragogy
  • heutagogy

Principles of Andragogy/Adult Learning

  1. Adults must want to learn. They learn effectively only when they are free to direct their own learning and have a strong inner and excited motivation to develop a new skill or acquire a particular type of knowledge, this sustains learning. They learn effectively only when they have a strong inner motivation to develop a new skill or acquire a particular type of knowledge.
  2. Adults will learn only what they feel they need to learn. Adults are practical in their approach to learning; they want to know, “How is this going to help me right now? Is it relevant (content, connection, and application) and does it meet my targeted goals.” Helping their children is a strong motivator for learners who are parents; getting a high school diploma or a good job is another strong motivator for adults. Aadults will learn only what they feel they need to learn Adults are practical in their approach to learning; they want to know, “How is this going to help me right now?”
  3. Adults learn by doing. Adolescents learn by doing, but adults do through an active practice and participation, this helps in integrating component skills into a coherent whole. Both adults and children learn by doing, but active participation is more important among adults.
  4. Adult learning focuses on problem solving. Adolescents tend to learn skills sequentially. Adults tend to start with a problem and then work to find a solution. A meaningful engagement, such as posing and answering realistic questions and problems is necessary for deeper learning. This leads to more elaborate, longer lasting, and stronger representations of the knowledge (Craik & Lockhart, 1972). Begin by identifying what the learner can do, what the learner wants to do and then address the gaps and develop practical activities to teach specific skills.
  5. Experience affects adult learning. Adults have more experience than adolescents. This can be an asset and a liability, if prior knowledge is inaccurate, incomplete, or naive, it can interfere with or distort the integration of incoming information (Clement, 1982; National Research Council, 2000). Use the learners’ experience (negative or positive) to build a positive future by making sure that negative experiences are not part of their experience in your program.
  6. Adults learn best in an informal situation. Adolescents have to follow a curriculum. Often, adults learn by taking responsibility by the value and need of content they have to understand and the particular goals it will achieve. Being in an inviting, collaborative and networking environment as an active participant in the learning process makes it efficient.
  7. Adults want guidance and consideration as equal partners in the process. Adults want information that will help them improve their situation. They do not want to be told what to do and they evaluate what helps and what doesn’t. They want to choose options based on their individual needs and the meaningful impact a learning engagement could provide. Socialization is more important among adults. Involve adults in the learning process. Let them discuss issues and decide on possible solutions. Make the environment relaxed, informal and inviting.

Moving from directed learning to adult learning to self-directed learning

Based on the diagram “The Difference Between Pedagogy, Andragogy, And Heutagogy” by Terry Heick, this working document aims to provide us with a framework for learning in interpreting classes. Sign language interpreting skills education benefits far greater from a worked problem and problem-based learning (PBL) center than a traditional pedagogical, instructor-centered approach.

  Pedagogy Andragogy Heutagogy
  (Learning for children) (Learning for adults; Knowles, M. (1990) The adult learner. A neglected species, 4th Edition. Houston: Gulf Publishing.) (Self-directed learning; Hase, S. and Kenyon, C. (2000). From andragogy to heutagogy. Ultibase, RMIT.)
Dependence The learner is a dependent personality. Instructor determines what, how, and when anything is learned. Adults are independent. They strive for autonomy and self-direction in learning. 1) Learners are interdependent. 2) They identify the potential to learn from novel experiences as a matter of course. 3) They are able to manage their own learning.
Resources for learning The learner has few resources; the teacher devises transmission techniques to store knowledge in the learner’s head. Adults use their own and other’s experience. Teacher provides some resources but the learner decides the path by negotiating the learning.
Reasons for learning Learn in order to advance to the next stage. Adults learn when they experience a need to know or to perform more effectively. 1) Learning is not necessarily planned or linear. 2) Learning is not necessarily based on need but on the identification of the potential to learn in novel situations.
Focus of learning Learning is subject-centered, focused on prescribed curriculum and planned sequences according to the logic of the subject matter. Adult learning is task or problem-centered. 1) Learners can go beyond problem solving by enabling proactivity. 2) Learners learn by doing. 3) They use their own and others’ experiences and internal processes such as reflection, environmental scanning, experience, interaction with others, proactivity, and problem-solving behaviors.
Motivation Motivation comes from external sources, usually parents, teachers, grades, and a sense of competition. Adult learning motivation stems from internal sources: increased self-esteem, confidence, and recognition that comes from successful performance. 1) Self-efficacy. 2) Knowing how to learn. 3) Development of creativity, synthesis. 4) Ability to apply learning/principles in novel, familiar, and teamed situations.
Role of the instructor Designs the learning process, imposes material, “knows best.” Enabler and facilitator of a climate of collaboration, respect, and openness. 1) Encourage the development of learner capability and capacity. Capable people: a) know how to learn, b) are creative, c) have a high degree of self-efficacy, d) apply competencies in novel and familiar situations, e) work well with others