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Learning in Adulthood: A Comprehensive Guide, 3rd Edition

ISBN: 978-0-7879-7588-3
560 pages
October 2006, ©2007, Jossey-Bass
Learning in Adulthood: A Comprehensive Guide, 3rd Edition (0787975885) cover image


In this updated landmark book, the authors have gathered the seminal work and most current thinking on adult learning into one volume. Learning in Adulthood addresses a wide range of topics including: Who are adult learners? How do adults learn? Why are adults involved in learning activities? How does the social context shape the learning that adults are engaged in? How does aging affect learning ability?
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Table of Contents


The Authors.


1 The Social Context of Adult Learning.

2 Learning Environments and Learning Concepts.

3 Adult Learners: Who Participates and Why.


4 Knowles’s Andragogy, and Models of Adult Learning by McClusky, Illeris, and Jarvis.

5 Self-Directed Learning.

6 Transformational Learning.

7 Experience and Learning.


8 Embodied, Spiritual, and Narrative Learning.

9 Learning and Knowing: Non-Western Perspectives.

10 Critical Theory, Postmodern, and Feminist Perspectives.


11 Traditional Learning Theories.

12 Adult Development.

13 Cognitive Development in Adulthood.

14 Intelligence and Aging.

15 Memory, Cognition, and the Brain.

16 Reflections on Learning in Adulthood.


Name Index.

Subject Index.

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Author Information

Sharan B. Merriam is professor of adult education at the University of Georgia. Merriam's research and writing activities have focused on the foundations of adult education, adult learning, adult development, and qualitative research methods. She has won the Cyril O. Houle Award for Outstanding Literature in Adult Education for three books, including one for Learning in Adulthood.

Rosemary S. Caffarella is professor and chair of the Department of Education in the College of Agriculture and Life Science at Cornell University. Her research and writing activities have focused on adult development and learning, program planning and evaluation, and leadership development. She has authored or coauthored a number of books, including the award-winning Learning in Adulthood.

Lisa M. Baumgartner is an associate professor of adult education at Northern Illinois University, DeKalb. Her research and writing focus on adult learning and development and women's contributions to the field of adult education. She is a recipient of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation's Cyril O. Houle Scholars Research Grant for Emerging Scholars in Adult Education.

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"For this third edition of Learning in Adulthood we have paid particular attention to work published since the last edition of the book. This third edition of Learning in Adulthood builds on material in the 1999 edition, bringing together the important contributions of the past decade to our understanding of adult learning. While we have preserved important foundational material (such as a discussion of andragogy), we have also brought to bear the most recent thinking and research. We have strived to put together a comprehensive overview and synthesis of what we know about adult learning: the context in which it takes place, who the participants are, what they learn and why, the nature of the learning process itself, new approaches to adult learning, the development of theory in adult learning, and other issues relevant to understanding adult learning."
—From the Preface

Previous praise for Learning in Adulthood

"An essential volume in adult education."

"This book is extremely useful in that it provides an informed overview of issues related to adult learning. It is very readable, yet packs considerable challenge for the more experienced adult educator."
—Canadian Journal of University Continuing Education

"Learning in Adulthood's greatest strengths are its coverage of the learning context, theory-building within adult learning, and how social and ethical issues offer special challenges to adult learning. It will be useful to both experienced and novice continuing educators, as well as laypersons."
—Continuing Higher Education Review

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