Adult learners

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Malcolm Knowles, in the 1970s, first identified six characteristics of adult learners. He described them as autonomous, self-directed, goal oriented, and practical with an accumulated life experience. Adult learners need to be able to understand the relevancy of what they are learning and be shown respect. An awareness of how adults learn and acknowledgement of the skills and knowledge they bring will be beneficial to your tertiary teaching context.

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Read about the differences of younger and adult learners. In particular, look at the six characteristics of adult learners in more depth.
  • To what extent do you consider your students to be adult learners?
  • As a teacher, what is the single most important difference between these two groups in your learning and teaching context? Justify your choice.