My Adult Learning Principles for the 21st Century

Kristin Glavis, HASTAC, Dec 07, 2016
Commentary by Stephen Downes

I like this article by Kristin Glavis, a student at Saint Joseph's University. She outlines three major principles of adult learning that have guided her through her education:

  • Self-confidence - "confidence in their abilities, good self-esteem, support from others, and trust in others" (Merriam, Caffarella, & Baumgartner).
  • Experience - "people draw from their experiences in all aspects of their life—not just in the formal education setting."
  • Adaptability - "Adult learners seek out educational opportunities because they want to learn- they’re self-directed."

These are not going to be found on any formal curriculum, but they are at the heart of effective learning at any age. In a seminar last night I discussed differences between previous and current generation learners, and the difference comes down to these three elements with respect to new and digital technologies. We should be looking at how to instill these at younger ages and across more disciplines.

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