Adult Learning Theory flash cards!

 

 

 

 

 

Adult Learning Theory- K. P. Cross (1981)

 

 

Theory is K.P Cross’s Characteristics of Adults as Learners (CAL) model, which integrates several adult learning theories (including Rogers and Knowles).

 

CAL model has two variables:

 

1) Personal Characteristics:

 

a) Aging- certain sensory- motor tasks get worse (i.e. vision, hearing, reaction time) but some intellectual skills get better (i.e. decision making, reasoning, vocabulary)

 

b) life phases and c) developmental stages- adults go through several life stages and transitions that are not exclusively determined by age (i.e. marriage, having kids, retiring).

 

2) Situational Characteristics: learning full time or part time, required or voluntary

 

-Provides guidelines for adult education:

 

-Different learning methods should be used for different students (consider appropriate schedule, location, agenda, self-directed, problem centered approach, etc.).

 

-Various experiences of students add to the class, lesson should be developmentally appropriate, learners should be encouraged to grow, availability and structure of lesson should be flexible.

 

 

 

 



Andragogy– Malcolm Knowles

 

 

theory entirely for adult learning

 

-especially useful for organizational training programs

 

-Knowles believes that learning must take into account that adults are self-directed and take responsibility for decisions: students should be guided to learn for themselves and self-evaluate

 

It is assumed that:

 

a) Adults want to know the rationale for the lesson

 

b) They need to learn from experience (including mistakes)

 

c) They’re learning style is problem solving

 

d) Learning is optimal when it has practical applications in the near future

 

-process/task oriented as opposed to content/memorization focused: case studies, role play, self-evaluation, etc. useful

 

-teacher as facilitator/resource as opposed to lecturer/evaluator

 

-teaching should consider the various levels and kinds of experiences of students

 

 



Experiential Learning Theory– Carl Rogers

 

 

-Applied mostly to adult learning

 

-Heavily influenced by humanistic movement, it then influenced Knowles and Cross

 

Rogers defined two types of learning:

 

a)  Cognitive– academic knowledge/things that are memorized for a class (e.g. vocabulary, math equations) which are “meaningless.”


 

b)  Experiential– practical knowledge that is of immediate value and which the learner wants to know (for practical, social, or personal purposes) makes for “significant” learning.

 

-involves, is initiated, and is evaluated by the learner- students controls process, nature, and direction, which makes learning more lasting

 

-should minimize external threats to the student that could impede learning

 

-is akin to personal evolution and growth- important to learn for the sake of learning and to be open to change

 

-Rogers says that all people have a natural inclination to learn, so the teacher’s role is to facilitate that

 

Teacher should:

 

a)  Create a positive environment for learning

 

b)  Make the purpose of the learning clear

 

c)  Provide learning resources

 

d)  Consider both intellectual and emotional parts of learning

 

e)  Offer insights and feelings, but not dominate the process

 

 

 

 



Information Processing Theory– G. Miller

 

 

-Essential to cognitive psychology and has become a generalized theory of cognition

 

This framework consists of two theoretical ideas:

 

1) Chunking:

 

-short-term memory can only hold 5-9 (plus or minus 2) “chunks” of info

 

-chunks are any meaningful units (numbers, words, faces, etc.)

 

-chunking greatly influenced succeeding theories of memory

 

2) Test-Operate-Test-Exit (TOTE):

 

-TOTE focuses on problem solving and says that when achieving a goal, and operation is performed. If the goal is not achieved, another operation is undertaken. The test-operate cycle is repeated until the goal is achieved. (e.g. hammering a nail).

 

-TOTE heavily influenced theories of problem solving that followed, and Miller said TOTE should became the basic unit of behavior (replacing stimulus-response).

 

 



Multiple Intelligences– Howard Gardner

 

 

theory shares some premises of others that focus on individual differences

 

-usually applied to teaching children, but relevant for all ages

 

-no empirical evidence, but has widespread support from many disciplines

 

-Theory proposes that there are 7 unique types of intelligences that each person has, in varying degrees

 

The 7 main types are: linguistic, musical, logical-mathematical, special, body-kinesthetic, intrapersonal (insight, metacognition) and interpersonal (e.g. social skills).

 

-intelligences are sometimes influenced by culture

 

For teaching:

 

-both teaching and learning should capitalize on the unique intelligences of the student

 

-intelligences should be considered in both the content and method of learning

 

-Assessments should measure all types of intelligence (not only mathematical or linguistic).

 

 



Script Theory– R. Shank

 

 

-Can be applied to explain language processing, higher thinking abilities, and story telling.

 

-Theory focuses on the structure of knowledge, particularly in the context of language comprehension.

 

-Shank’s contextual dependency theory– used for the representation of meaning in sentences.

 

-this framework was adapted to include the concepts of scripts, plans, and themes for “story level understanding.” It was later expanded to include other aspects of cognition.

 

conceptual dependency theory: the “idea that all conceptualizations can be represented in terms of a small number of primitive acts performed by an actor on an object.”

 

-memory is episodic: organized around personal experience (scripts) as opposed to semantic categories

 

Scrips: generalized episodes. “specific memories are stored as pointers to scripts plus any unique events for a particular episode.” They permit people to make conclusions that are needed for understanding by filling in the gaps of information (i.e. schema) and to comprehend verbal and written discourse

 

Script theory as a dynamic model of memory: “model suggests that events are understood in terms of scripts, plans, other knowledge structures, and relevant previous experiences.” Goals and plans produce higher expectations.

 

-Explanatory processes (XPs) are a fundamental feature- they “represent stereotyped answers to events that involve anomalies or unusual events” and are an important factor of creativity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Situated Learning– J. Lave

 

 

A general theory of acquiring knowledge.

 

Situated learning refers to learning that naturally occurs as a function of the activity, context, and culture in which it takes place, as opposed to student learning of material that is abstract and out of context

 

-knowledge must be presented in the context in which it applies

 

-Learning sometimes takes place unintentionally, called “legitimate peripheral participation.”

 

Social interaction and collaboration are fundamental: learners join a “community of practice” in which to learn the required beliefs and behaviors. As the knowledge of the newcomers evolve, they become more active “experts” for the community.

 

-in all settings, the social construction of knowledge is essential

 

-Theory has been further developed by other theorists to include the concept of “cognitive apprenticeship.”

 

 



Social Learning– Albert Bendura

 

 

Theory focuses on learning from observing and modeling the behavior, attitudes, and emotions of others- is important since it would be quite difficult to depend solely on one’s own behavior to know how to act.

 

-Most of a person’s behavior is learned by observing the modeled behaviors of others. We learn how to carry out new behaviors, and later use this knowledge guides their actions.

 

-theory describes behavior as “continuous reciprocal interaction between cognitive, behavioral, and environmental influences.”

 

-Underlying components of observational learning:

 

a) Attention of observer– (“distinctiveness, affective complexity, prevalence, functional value”), and observer characteristics (“sensory capacities, arousal level, perceptual set, past reinforcement”)

 

b) Retention– includes “symbolic coding, cognitive organization, symbolic rehearsal, motor rehearsal”

 

c) Motor reproduction– includes physical abilities, “self-observation of reproduction, accuracy of feedback.”

 

d) Motivation– “external, vicarious, and self-reinforcement.”

 

-observational learning works best when the behavior is first organized and rehearsed, and then attempted

 

-people are more likely to regurgitate modeled behavior if they want the same outcome

 

-folks are more likely to mirror a modeled behavior if it is from someone they admire or the behavior will get them what they want.

 

Theory incorporates cognition and behavior since it deals with attention, memory, and motivation- improves on theory that simply focuses on modeling and behavior.

 

-Related to Lave’s theory of social learning. Has been applied to behavior modification (e.g. aggression, psychological disorders).

 

 

 

 



Attribution Theory– B. Weiner

 

 

theory in social psychology which provides a framework for how people interpret events and what this says about their thinking and behavior

 

– Is about attributions: how to attribute causes to behavior/why people do what they do

 

Attribution is a 3-stage process:

 

a) Individual perceives/observes the behavior

 

b) They must believe the behavior was intentional/deliberate

 

c) They decide if the behavior was forced (situational/external) or not (is attributed to the other person/internal).

 

There are 3 classifications for attributions:

 

a) Locus of control: internal verses external

 

b) Stability: if they change or stay the same

 

c) Controllability: controllable causes (e.g. skill, efficacy) verses uncontrollable ones (e.g. mood, luck)

 

Example-Achievement: Wiener talked about achievement, which is determined by effort, ability, level of task difficulty, and luck. It explains difference in motivation of high and low achievers

 

 

 

 



Cognitive Dissonance Theory– Leon Festinger

 

 

-Theory can be applied to attitude formation and change, decision making, and problem solving

 

-Theory rests on the idea that people like consistency amongst their cognitions (beliefs, opinions)

 

-when there is dissonance (an inconsistency between attitudes or behaviors), humans must change something/chose between contradictory attitudes and beliefs

 

-dissonance is most common when people experience two incompatible beliefs or actions- this is much harder when each of the two is equally appealing

 

-if the dissonance involves attitude verses behavior, generally the attitude changes to compliment the behavior

 

-strength of dissonance is affected by the number of beliefs, and the importance of each belief.

 

3 ways to get rid of dissonance:

 

a) Decrease the importance of dissonant beliefs

 

b) Increase harmonious beliefs to outweigh the dissonant beliefs 

 

c) Modify dissonant beliefs to recover consistency 

 

 



Constructivist Theory– Jerome Bruner

 

 

-a theoretical framework for teaching, based on the science of cognition. It is one particular perspective of constructivism. One application is child development research.

 

-theory says that “learning is an active process in which learners construct new ideas or concepts based upon their current/past knowledge”

 

cognitive structure: Cognitive structures such as schemas and mental models “provide meaning and organization to experiences and allow the individual to go beyond the info given” and allow the learner to “select and transform info, construct hypothesis, and make decisions.”

 

Teacher should:

 

a) inspire students to discover principles themselves

 

b) engage in an active dialogue

 

c) translate knowledge into a format suitable to where the students are at

 

d) present curriculum in a “spiral manor” that continuously builds upon what is learned

 

Theory of instruction should address these aspects:

 

1) “predisposition towards learning”

 

2) the ways the content can be structured so that it can be best understood by the student

 

3) “the most effective sequences to present material”

 

4) how rewards and punishments are paced- “good methods for structuring knowledge should result in simplifying, generating new propositions, and increasing the manipulation of info.”

 

 

 

 

 

 



Transformational Theory– Jack Mezirow

 

 

-theory of adult learning, especially in post-secondary education

 

-As a constructivist orientation– says that the way students interpret and reinterpret their experience is fundamental to their finding meaning, and therefore learning.

 

-Theory differentiates 2 types of learning

 

1) Instrumental: involves learning through task-oriented problem solving and figuring out cause and effect relationships

 

2) Communicative learning: focuses on how people express their needs, feelings, and desires

 

-Meaning structures are important:

 

a)Meaning Perspectives: “broad sets of predispositions resulting from psychocultural assumptions which determine the horizons of our expectations.” They are coded in 3 different ways: sociolinguistic codes, psychological codes, and epistemic codes.

 

b)Meaning Schemes: “the constellation of concept, belief, judgement, and feelings which shapes a particular interpretation.”

 

c)Reflection: the way that meaning structures are understood and developed. They “involve a critique of assumptions to determine whether the belief, often acquired through cultural assimilation in childhood, remains functional for us as adults.” People reflect on the content, process, and premise of problem solving. Reflection results in a better understanding of ourselves and our learning

 

-there are 4 ways of learning: “refining or elaborating our meaning schemes, learning new meaning schemes, transforming meaning schemes, and transforming meaning perspectives.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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