Personal Statement on Adult Learning
I remember it as if it were yesterday. I finally had my first “real job” out of college. I was eager to demonstrate my abilities. I thought I could do it all. Of course, I could not. I had to go to Corporate Training Programs to learn more! I was sitting in a classroom filled with other adults—right next to my boss—when it occurred to me that I really enjoyed the learning process. Moreover, I was fascinated by how the trainer engaged the learners. I decided that I wanted to become a trainer.
It was no longer about my own abilities; it was about sharing those abilities with others. During the first morning break, I said to my boss, “I would really like to be a trainer one day.” It took another five years before it happened; however, it was worth it. I am currently a trainer in the corporate world of adult learners, and I love the work I do.
Since that time, I have learned a lot about adult learning, and I have my own beliefs about how best to teach adults. My beliefs about adult learning echo much of what Malcolm Knowles has promoted with his theory of Andragogy. Like Knowles, I believe that adults have a need to take a more active role in the learning process. As such, my teaching includes ample opportunities for the learners to understand the value of what they are learning, to make their own decisions about the learning process, to immediately apply their learning to job-related tasks, and to integrate what they are learning into their personal lives.
In order to facilitate this process with adult learners, much of my approach is structured to enhance its success. I believe that the Nine Events of Instruction developed by Robert M. Gagné are an important part of the classroom experience. When a trainer follows these nine events, there is a very good chance that the adult learners will be able to relate to the material more readily and that they will be able to transfer their learning to the job.
This transfer of learning to the job is an important part of my own beliefs, too. Certainly, learning is not a one-time occurrence. Because of this, I also value an ongoing mentoring process with adult learners. As a mentor, I can help the students to grow and learn. The writings of the theorist Daloz strongly support the concept of mentoring with adult learners. Additionally, adult learners can become mentors themselves, thereby extending the learning process to others.
My own journey has played an important part in developing an adult learning belief. I started as a student and became an adult worker only to once again play the role of a student as an adult. Then, I started teaching and mentoring adults in the hope that they will learn from me to then go out and teach and mentor others. The adult education cycle continues.
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