The Art and Science of Adult Learning

 In General


Adult learning is about involving adults in learning either in formal, informal and non-formal way. Adults left initial education due to some reasons involve themselves in acquiring knowledge and skills.

The art and science of Adult learning was proposed by Malcolm Knowles, who is known as “The father of Andragogy.”

According to Malcolm Knowles, there are five assumptions describe the adult learner as someone who:

  • Has an independent self-concept and who can direct his/her own learning
  • Has accumulated a reservoir of life experience that is rich source for learning.
  • Has learning needs closely related to changing social roles.
  • Is problem-centered and interested in immediate application of knowledge.
  • Is motivated to learn by internal rather than content-oriented.

According to Malcolm Knowles, there are certain principles to be worked upon for an effective learning

  • Involvement: Adults need to be fully involved in planning and evaluation of learning instructions.
  • Experience: adults must utilize their past experience including their mistakes to provide themselves the base of learning activities.
  • Interest level: adults must show their interest towards the subjects, having immediate relevance to their job or personal life.
  • Problem oriented: adults need to realize that this learning will help them cater their problems in a better way so they should be motivated to center their problems through this learning rather than being worried for the content.

The most common reason for adults for putting themselves in learning environment is a life-changing event, but it is very important to keep on mind all those factors that affect the learning experience. Some of the factors are:

  • Life experience and events
  • Work experience
  • thinking pattern
  • Previous learning experiences, positive/negative both
  • Cognitive abilities
  • Time duration between learning interaction
  • Aging factors

Adults after a long time begin their journey back to learning and here they find themselves being benefited with some resourceful states. Adults while learning after a long break get to have the following major benefits.

  • Career benefits: No matter where they are employed, they empower themselves with the learning which helps them achieve their aspirations.
  • Confidence: Learning self-esteem and gaining a sense of pride, feeling confidence on their achievements are also an art of learning.
  • Independence: The sense of performing tasks on their own and taking decisions on their own also makes a person feel independent which is also due to this learning process.
  • Personal development: Learning is a process of self-improvement. Learning in adulthood adds more dimensions to their skills and capabilities.
  • Self-direction: Education helps bringing meaning and purpose to life. This way of learning gives adults a sense of self-worth and direction.

The art and science of adult learning is actually helping them out to refine their thoughts to remain fairly constants in their career, and this theory of art and science is mainly inclined towards social change along with a significant creation of positivity and strength of an individual.



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