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Approaches to Adult Learning

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Education
Wordcount: 2842 words Published: 9th Jul 2018

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Annotated Overview

The focus of this writing will be on the themes of the assigned chapter readings for Week 6. These chapter reading from Learning in Adulthood: A Comprehensive Guide was in the following chapters: 8, 9, and 10. This paper will also include additional learning resources (media video and instructor's notes) and will outline points of interests gained from their viewing and reading.

Week 5 Annotated Chapter Assignment

This week's study involved our reading of three chapters, viewing two media videos and article reading. This paper will touch on the points of interest that resonated with me in my reading as well as thoughts that I explored from the supportive learning resources (media video and instructor's notes). The paper will conclude with a summary/discussion of what was gained through this learning experience and discuss ways this learning can be implemented.

Understanding and Facilitating Adult Learning: A Comprehensive Approach

Chapter 8 Theme

The overall theme of this chapter highlighted an integrated approach to learning which shows the synergistic connection and combination of the mind, body, and spirit in learning called embodied learning. It also discussed the significance of learning through storytelling and heightened learning outcomes of narrative teaching. This section will address the points of interests that inspired to onto further study.

Narrative Learning

There are events that happen in our life which are unique. Some are uniquely dull and some can be uniquely exciting. However, the case each has a unique storyline that when told can help others to better understand and know something of the storyteller's world that may lead to a significant discovery in their own. The writer points out that "Narrative knowing are not so much driven to find out more about the tangible outcomes of an event: its facts, logic and such, than they are about discovering meaning, and gaining understanding of the same event (Merriam, Baumgartner, & Caffarella, 2007).

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Narrative Learning Formats. The writer pointed out that that narratives as a conduit for learning comes in three distinct formats which are "storying" the curriculum, storytelling, and autobiography (Merriam et al., 2007). Overall as Foote points out the stories told through narrative learning be it a story with connotations that are based on culture, tradition, social or spiritual implications each has been in its unique way the means of knowledge impartation since time began (Foote, 2015). Educationally, storytelling provides the presenter with a powerful means of helping the learner to make salient connections which improves the learning experience.

Narrative Learning, Adult Development, Transformational Learning. I appreciated what the writer stated concerning life narratives being a retrospective activity that is continually in the process of revealing itself - unfolding. For when one views life from a narrative perspective the result leads to empowerment. This happens because it's not what happens to anyone that matters it how the event it translated that matters (Merriam et al., 2007). My thoughts are, re-storying based that is devoid of the positives found even in the most negative of situations seriously retards one's transformative development. Nemec says that in stating that a transformation which shifts one perspective is not always easy because there is a cause for disequilibrium in one's life. However, if one chooses to, one can regain a new balance in life from what is learned through that life experience by changings one's perspective of the issue at hand (Nemec, 2012).

Chapter 9 Theme

The theme of this chapter encourages one to take on the perspective of learning and knowing by using lenses of no-westerners. In this way one is better suited to understand the dynamics of the meaning of one's learning and knowing is based solely by the beholder and not on one's location. This section will address the points of interests concerning which I found to be enlightening

The Western/Non-Western Dichotomy, Culture, and Indigenous Knowledge

According to the writer in order to fully appreciate the differences in western and nonwestern learning and knowledge one must take in deliberation the following perceptions: Western versus non-Western, culture and indigenous knowledge (Merriam et al., 2007).

Western/Non-Western Dichotomy. According to Merriam, many non-westerners do not accept the false narrative typically held by some in the west concerning the promotion of the assumption that westerners learning and knowledge is superior to all others (Merriam et al., 2007). The cited writer points out that what is thought of as western knowledge is often traced to classical Greek culture (Paul & Pedersen, 1980).

Culture. Merriam points that culture can be defined as a representational manifestation of the shared behavior and meaning held by a same group of people (Merriam et al., 2007). Cultures from East Asians are known for their renowned ability to pay attention on a global and local level. In comparison to their western counterparts, the west is no match. A plausible reason for that is in how each culture implicitly obtains diverse knowledge and process the information. (Qiufang Fu, Zoltan Dienes, Junchen Shang, & Xiaolan Fu, 2013).

Indigenous Knowledge. Cultural knowledge and learning is that which is shared within a group. Analogous to that definition is indigenous knowledge but on a larger scale. This is knowledge that is known as local knowledge that is generated and shared, by a group of people, over a period but within a specific geographic and historic region. This is knowledge is community-based and supported knowledge that deals directly with local issues within the region for the betterment of the community(Merriam et al., 2007).

Chapter 10 Theme

The theme of this chapter looks at learning from the context of learning taking place on a more global perspective within society. The chapter looked at the working of power and various other learning themes. This section will touch on aspects that I found interesting.

Critical Theory and Adult Learning

According to Merriam, when one compares andragogy and transformational learning, are unaware of the potential that lies within the potentially of critical theory potential. The vastness of topic of this theory surrounding adult learning, lends itself to further examination of the concepts that impact adult education. I found the following to be interesting reads: reflective discourse and the seven learning tasks involved with critical theory.

Ideal Conditions for Reflective Discourse. Merriam cites Habermas stating that as a form a form of knowledge Habermas's ideal conditions for reflective discourse, closely resembles it. The forms of knowledge being technical, practical and emancipatory knowledge(Merriam et al., 2007).

Merriam goes on to state that according to Mezirow, when two are in discussion if there is no doubting the authenticity of what is being shared or the truthfulness of the speaker, or how appropriate the information is in light of relevant norms, one is prone to seek the best judgment of one that is judged to be informed, objective, and rational (Merriam et al., 2007)

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Critical Thinking. Merriam states that because lifeworld and the system interconnect it would behoove one to critically focus one's attention on the concerted workings of the two. Merriam goes on to quote Collin's (1995) stating that, "The juxtaposition of lifeworld and system concepts is clearly significant in enabling us to 'think deeply and realistically about the systemic blockages to the achievement of a more fully democratized society'" (Merriam et al., 2007).

Bohman and Rehg (2014) point out that Habermas's criteria there are four conditions when applied to interactions of discourse between adults that are at play that would result in authentic discussion. They go on to state that crux of Habermas's Theory of Discourse is expression of valid facts and information that is based purely on the merits of a disinterested pursuit of truth (Bohman & Rehg, 2014). This holds true in an any interchange involving rational adults who are sharing truth from a level personal knowledge and understanding while at the same time seeking mutuality of understanding and knowledge.

Integrating the main themes

The chapter readings for week six gave me a better sense of self-involvement in learning. Whereas the tone of week five reading was on the role of facilitation in the learning process; the implications in the statement of one being personally involved in learning was spoken loud and clear throughout week six chapters. In reflecting on the theories and principles of transformative learning I can say that one of the enlightenments that I take away is through the means that transformative learning, one's internal and external awareness is enhanced within that transformative learning experience. What I mean by that is, I learned that learning is more than just sitting in a room assimilating data. Cohen points out, that when one embodies the learning the learning experience, there is an opportunity created where any portion of the information being received can connect with meaning that initiates one's conscious awareness that brings about a reflective moment which ushers in a revelation of one's higher self. Transparently speaking, this reading brought up some thoughts that I had not previously considered. Consequently, these three eye-opening chapters demand a deeper review and reflection on my part, if for nothing else than for the sake of growth through perspective changing and social enlightenment, which is the message I felt the writer was conveying within these three chapters.

Incorporating Media and Instructor Notes

The video, "New Approach to Learning" was an expose on the creator of Khan Academy. He is a former Hedge Fund analysis who started a free on line e-learning you tube website. This is a unique approach to sharing information with others that assister the self-directed learner supporting their ongoing learning settings. The presenter points out that his approach is simple and effective and attracts the attention of youth and adult learners around the world. The benefit of this approach to learning is that the learner can have ready access for a variety of learning event while learning at their pace. Mr. Khan points out that according to research information the length of the content is at the right amount that facilities learning. The presenter also brought in a interviewee who expressed how this type of learning is a valuable asset to locations around the world that may not have access to any formal or informal means of education (Vantage Siam Co., 2011).

The video, "Gen Y & New Approaches to Learning & Training" was interview centered on Generation Y and their approach to learning. The interviewee pointed out the demographic range of this new type of learner and the desires of the Gen Y group of learners to be taught in accordance to the technological society we live in. They want to be free in their ability to use the knowledge with the technology they have grown up with as compared to previous generations who did not have similar types of access. Both the interviewer and interviewee agreed that the responsibility of the teacher is to move away from former methods to incorporate this new desire for learning by making it easy for student involvement and encourages participation. This move will not only affect the present generation but it will prepare them for the upcoming one - Gen Z.(Award1956's channel, 2010).

The video, "Koren Alberich on New Approaches to Learning" was interview on three examples of learning using alternate reality games and virtual worlds. The interviewee explained how the games and worlds can be made to adapt to any environment and setting. Each can be structured to simulate desired learning outcomes. Two salient outcomes of these new approaches are: 1) the scalability. The environments and settings can meet any size of learning audience, 2) as for the use of virtual worlds they can be create real-time global location via internet that can bring global locations into one location (Clarey, 2011)


The overall thought of this week's lesson has been an approach to learning that has helped me in synthesizing my life to what has been presented within these three chapters, as well to the previous lessons. Subjects like the principles of embodied learning with its lesson on spiritual and narrative learning are very insightful. I am a Pastor of a small congregation and I teach using the preaching method of expository preaching. After reading about narrative learning I have added storytelling as an element of preaching to help the listener gain a richer understanding of the content of my message. This is one example of how I have applied what I am learning. I believe that knowing and not applying what one knows means that knowledge remains as theoretical information. However, when that same knowledge is put into action then it takes on another essence, by becoming reality in the life of the one that has applied it. As I further reflect on what take away from the chapter dealing with Learning and knowing I now look at with I know and have learned through new lenses. Taking others perspectives, especially other cultures, will be hard to do. That is if one is not willing to, at the least, empathetically look at life from someone else's perspective. I agree with the chapter writer concerning our western egotism when it comes to learning that inders us in that aspect. Our pride should not be the thing that keeps us from learning and knowing from other cultures. The truth is, in many cases other cultures have truly learned and know more than our does. Any barrier to intellectual growth must be overcome if we as a whole - world round - if we are to grow together. And as barriers, such as cultural pride and others come down that gives way to areas of growth in realms such as meaningful dialog brought about by the ethos of critical theory, as well as acceptance of ideals founded in postmodern and feminist perspectives. When approached with a mindset of open-mindedness, these theories and concepts are enlightening and the means of growth. Light makes things grow. Needless to say, I feel I have grown to have a deeper appreciation for what I have experienced thus far and look forward to what more is to come.


Award1956's channel (Producer), & Award1956's channel (Director). (2010, December 8,). Gen Y & new approaches to learning & training. [Video/DVD] Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o-SXIdXMqeA

Bohman, J., & Rehg, W. (2014). Jürgen habermas. Retrieved from https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/habermas/#HabDisThe

Clarey, J. (Producer), & Clarey, J. (Director). (2011, April 22,). Koreen olbrish on new approaches to learning. [Video/DVD]

Foote, L. S. (2015). Re-storying life as a means of critical reflection: The power of narrative learning. Christian Higher Education, 14(3), 116-126. doi:10.1080/15363759.2015.1028580

Merriam, S. B., Baumgartner, L., & Caffarella, R. S. (2007). Learning in adulthood (3. ed. ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Nemec, P. B. (2012). Transformative learning. Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal, 35(6), 478-479. doi:10.1037/h0094585

Paul, & Pedersen. (1980). The cultural boundaries of education and non-eastern alternatives.1 Retrieved from http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/014303438000100507

Qiufang Fu, Zoltan Dienes, Junchen Shang, & Xiaolan Fu. (2013). Who learns more? cultural differences in implicit sequence learning. PLoS One, 8(8) doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0071625

Vantage Siam Co., L. (Producer), & Vantage Siam Co., L. (Director). (2011, 15 July). New approaches to learning. [Video/DVD]



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