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Adult Learning: Linking Theory and Practice

ISBN: 978-1-118-41631-0
320 pages
September 2013, Jossey-Bass
Adult Learning: Linking Theory and Practice (1118416317) cover image

Description

Solidly grounded in theory and research, but concise and practice-oriented, Adult Learning: Linking Theory and Practice is perfect for master’s-level students and practitioners alike. Sharan Merriam and Laura Bierema have infused each chapter with practical applications for instruction which will help readers personally relate to the material.

The contents covers:
  • Adult Learning in Today’s World
  • Traditional Learning Theories
  • Andragogy
  • Self-Directed Learning
  • Transformative Learning
  • Experience and Learning
  • Body and Spirit in Learning
  • Motivation and Learning
  • The Brain and Cognitive Functioning
  • Adult Learning in the Digital Age
  • Critical Thinking and Critical Perspectives
  • Culture and Context
Discussion questions and activities for reflection are included at the end of each chapter.
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Table of Contents

List of Tables, Figures, and Exhibits ix

Preface xi

The Authors xvii

1 Adult Learning in Today’s World 1

The Social Context of Adult Learning 1

The Adult Learner and Learning in Adulthood 11

Settings Where Learning Occurs 15

Chapter Summary 21

Linking Theory and Practice: Activities and Resources 21

Chapter Highlights 22

2 Traditional Learning Theories 24

What Is Learning? 24

Learning Theories 25

Chapter Summary 38

Linking Theory and Practice: Activities and Resources 38

Chapter Highlights 41

3 Andragogy: The Art and Science of Helping Adults Learn 42

Before Andragogy 44

Assumptions About Adult Learners 46

Andragogy Today 56

Chapter Summary 58

Linking Theory and Practice: Activities and Resources 59

Chapter Highlights 60

4 Self-Directed Learning 61

The Nature of Self-Directed Learning 62

The Process of Self-Directed Learning 66

Self-Directed Learning in Various Contexts 71

Assessing Self-Directed Learning 74

Critiques of Self-Directed Learning 76

Chapter Summary 78

Linking Theory and Practice: Activities and Resources 78

Chapter Highlights 79

Exhibit 4.1: Independent Study Learning Contract 81

5 Transformative Learning 82

What Is Transformative Learning? 83

Sites of Transformative Learning 90

Promoting and Evaluating Transformative Learning 94

Concluding Thoughts, Unresolved Issues 98

Chapter Summary 101

Linking Theory and Practice: Activities and Resources 101

Chapter Highlights 102

6 Experience and Learning 104

On the Relationship Between Experience and Learning 104

Models of Experiential Learning 108

Reflective Practice and Situated Cognition 115

Chapter Summary 123

Linking Theory and Practice: Activities and Resources 124

Chapter Highlights 125

7 Body and Spirit in Learning 127

Embodied Learning 128

The Spirit in Learning 136

Chapter Summary 142

Linking Theory and Practice: Activities and Resources 143

Chapter Highlights 145

8 Motivation and Learning 146

Motivation Defi ned 147

Motivation Theory 148

Motivation in Adult Education 151

Chapter Summary 162

Linking Theory and Practice: Activities and Resources 163

Chapter Highlights 166

9 The Brain and Cognitive Functioning 168

Brain Basics 168

Memory 172

Intelligence 175

Cognitive Development and Wisdom 182

Chapter Summary 187

Linking Theory and Practice: Activities and Resources 187

Chapter Highlights 188

10 Adult Learning in the Digital Age 190

The Technology Context 191

Adult Learners in the Digital Age 195

The Teaching-Learning Context of the Digital Age 201

Chapter Summary 208

Linking Theory and Practice: Activities and Resources 209

Chapter Highlights 211

11 Critical Thinking and Critical Perspectives 212

Being Critical 213

Critical Theory 214

Critical Perspectives 217

Critical Thinking 221

Critical Action—Mindful and Timely Intervention 226

Creating a Critical Classroom 228

Chapter Summary 234

Linking Theory and Practice: Activities and Resources 234

Chapter Highlights 236

12 Culture and Context, Theory and Practice in Adult Learning 238

Culture and Context 238

Culture and Learning 242

Culturally Relevant Teaching 245

The Relationship Between Theory and Practice 247

A Framework for Adult Learning 251

Chapter Summary 254

Linking Theory and Practice: Activities and Resources 255

Chapter Highlights 257

References 259

Name Index 287

Subject Index 293

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Author Information

Sharan B. Merriam is professor emeritus of adult education and qualitative research at the University of Georgia, Athens. She is a four-time winner of the prestigious Cyril O. Houle Award for Outstanding Literature in Adult Education and is the author, coauthor, or editor of more than 26 books, including Learning in Adulthood, The Profession and Practice of Adult Education, The New Update on Adult Learning Theory, and Qualitative Research, all from Jossey-Bass, a Wiley brand.

Laura L. Bierema is professor of adult education and human resource and organizational development at the University of Georgia, Athens. She is the author of several books including Critical Issues in Human Resource Development and Implementing a Critical Approach to Organizational Development.

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Reviews

“Merriam and Bierema’s deep and expansive understanding of adult learning, theoretically and practically, across a variety of educational settings, makes this book a must for new practitioners and scholars.” —Edward W. Taylor, professor of adult education, Penn State Harrisburg

“Facilitators and educators of adults often ask me for a reference just like Merriam and Bierema’s new book—one-stop shopping for foundational insight into how adults learn with a view to enhancing their practice. They need look no further! This up-to-date volume grounds sound thinking and effective approaches to educating adults in schools, higher education, organizations, communities, and many other settings.” —Victoria Marsick, professor of adult and organizational learning, Teacher’s College, Columbia University

“This compendium about the concepts of adult education spans profoundly across all the important ideas and discussions from its beginnings in one book. Still, students, professionals and scholars will find it reader-friendly and referring to one’s own experience and practice. Great resource for international students.” —Jost Reischmann, professor emeritus, Bambrick University, Germany, and vice-president, International Society for Comparative Adult Education

“This book offers a learning model and practice for those who are in or simply interested in adult learning. It is sure to provide inspiration and guidance regardless of one’s cultural background or prior learning experience.” —Youngwha Kee, professor, Department of Lifelong Education, Soongsil University

“Anyone who teaches professional-level graduate students will love the practical focus and application-rich activities at the end of each chapter in this book—it will become my mainstay text for adult learning theory and practice.” —Terry Carter, associate dean of professional instruction and faculty development, School of Medicine, Virginia Commonwealth University
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