Khalil AlSaadat


Learning opportunities for adults exist in a variety of settings ranging from a formal institution to a place of employment. It is important to acknowledge prior knowledge and experiences of learners, including their ability to recognize their own skills as lifelong learners, Merriam, 1999, (Conlan, Grabwoski, Smith). Considerations for adult development and learning include biological and psychological development including deterioration and disease processes that may occur and sociocultural and integrative perspectives on development (Merriam, 1999 in Conlan, Grabowski, Smith). While the most common reason for adults to place themselves in a learning environment is a life-changing event, once in that environment there are many factors that affect the learning experience. The most significant is referred to here as the briefcase brought with them. Briefcase may include (Conlan, Grabowski, Smith):

  • Life experience (including life altering events that affect cognitive abilities);
  • Work experience (including development of thinking patterns based on this experience);
  • Positive/negative previous adult learning experiences;
  • Performance affectors, including cognitive abilities;
  • Time between learning interactions;
  • Aging factor.

            In developing countries, these factors may not be considered when planning adult education programs, and with high rate of illiteracy in those countries, it is very significant to have sufficient knowledge about philosophies and theories of adult education, the psychology of adult learner and to have the necessary tools to plan successful adult education programs. Therefore, this paper discusses the following issues: andragogy, adult learning programs, adult learning theories, kinds of learning and settings for learning. The paper concludes with recommendations for practitioners, adult teachers and adult program planers when dealing with adults and conducting adult education programs.


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andragogy, adult learning, adult learning theories, methods

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Dorothy D. Billington. New horizon of learning, 1996.

Speck. M. Mest practice in professional development for sustained educational change. ERS, Spectrum.33-41, 1996.

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Conner, M. L. How adults learn, ageless learner, 1997-2007.

Conlan, Julie. Grabowski. Smith, Katie. Adult learning, department of educational psychology and instructional technology, University of Georgia.

Copyright (c) 2018 Khalil AlSaadat

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