Adult Learning and Effective Instruction

Subject: Education
Pages: 3
Words: 660
Reading time:
3 min
Study level: College


Adult learners have different learning needs. The needs can be met using different modes of instruction. According to Fink, the styles can either improve or deter their learning process (253). Consequently, teachers should put into consideration a number of factors to ensure effective adult erudition.

A good teacher in the context of adult learning has various characteristics (Altbach 45). An effective tutor employs different teaching styles based on the nature of the subject matter and the level of the course. The reason is because there is no one best coaching technique. The process allows the learners to work hard and understand the concepts taught throughout the learning process. Bain argues that teaching styles should be based on three elements (20). They include direction, discussion, and delegation.

In chapters 3 and 4 of their text, Galbraith analyzes results about philosophy of adult education inventory (98). The results are based on a scale of one to seven. The scores range from ‘strongly agree’ to ‘disagree’. The final findings, as marked in the two chapters, are not surprising. The reason is because the answers are based on one’s teaching experience, style, and understanding of adult education.

An instructor has both strong and weak areas. My strongest areas as an instructor include the ability to identify and choose the best teaching approaches for my learners. Adult learners are different. Galbraith points out that the variations result from varying life expectations (88). Consequently, it is important to develop an approach that benefits all students. My weakest areas as a tutor include being too nice to the adult students. I am also impatient.

Galbraith discusses different teaching styles (76). The technique associated with the philosophy I use as an instructor is student-centered approach. The mode focuses on an individual scholar rather than on a body of information (Merriam, Caffarella and Baumgartner 56). In addition, the method promotes active learning and provides real life connections. The results gathered will affect future teaching in a number of positive ways. The answers will facilitate more research, which will provide an in-depth understanding of adult education.

Andragogy and Adult Learning Theory

Effective educators should understand how adults learn best. Sharma considers andragogy as a theory that explains the learning process among adults (82). The approach uses problem-based and collaborative techniques instead of didactic techniques. In addition, it stresses on the need for equality between the teacher and the learner. According to Fink, andragogy and adult learning are connected (254). The reason is because adragogy refers to any form of grown-up education.

The time spent on self-directed learning gives rise to transformational experience. The reason is because the process influenced changes in three dimensions. They include psychological, behavioral, and convictional angles. In addition, the course facilitated growth and self-awareness. Transformational learning concepts are similar to Knowle’s vision of andragogy. According to the andragogy theory, adults bring with them a depth and breadth of experience into the education process (Merriam, Caffarella and Baumgartner 72). The same applies to transformative education. In addition, both approaches place emphasis on learner’s ability to gain new experience, reflection, and self-directedness.

According to Bain, transformational and andragogy principles are relevant to adult learners (255). They facilitate personal growth and development, which improve social, political, and professional aspects of the individual’s life. The numerous characteristics of adult education make it different from learning experienced in elementary and secondary schools. Galbraith points out that childhood learning allows students to gain a sense of what adulthood entails (67). On its part, adult education allows one to gain control of both time and responsibilities.


Adults have engaged in learning activities for decades. Instructors consider the teaching of adults as a continuous and changing process. In addition, adults take part in education due to a wide range of reasons, such as job enhancement. Each learner brings a different approach to learning. As a result, instructors dealing with adult learners should ensure they understand them and employ the best teaching mechanisms.

Works Cited

Altbach, Philip. In Defense of American Higher Education, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 2001. Print.

Bain, Ken. What the Best College Teachers Do, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard UP, 2004. Print.

Fink, Dee. Creating Significant Learning Experience, San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2004. Print.

Galbraith, Michael. Adult Learning Methods: A Guide for Effective Instruction. 3rd ed. 2004. Malabar, Fla.: Krieger Pub. Print.

Merriam, Sharan, Rosemary Caffarella, and Leonard Baumgartner. Learning in Adulthood: A Comprehensive Guide. 3rd ed. 2007. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Print.

Sharma, Lata. Adult Learning Methods, New Delhi: Sarup & Sons, 2006. Print.