Adult Learning: Theoretical Reflections

Distinguish the fundamental differences between the needs of child learners and those of adult learners

Individual differences are visible between adult learners and child learners, and this is something that can be seen in the day-to-day lives between the two types of people. In children, learning is a job and this is because it is essential for a child to go to school and learn a range of things that will prepare them for adulthood. In the case of learning in adults, it is secondary, meaning it is not the priority, although this does not mean it is not essential. In life, one cannot stop learning, but other duties come up that one needs to focus on more such as providing for the family, going to work, and other factors.

 Unlike adults, children are often forced to learn what someone teaches them, whereas adults are more flexible and they are capable of choosing what they want to learn. The Andragogy theory is best suited to explain these differences, based on the various factors present in adults and absent in children such as motivation, need to know, foundation, self-concept, and orientation. These factors apply mostly because a child may not see the importance of learning and they have to be forced whereas an adult can be able to know that the knowledge is necessary and it may help them to add value. 

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Distinguish the fundamental differences between the needs of child learners and those of adult learners

The needs of children and adults in learning are very different and they are evident because of various factors. Factors such as autonomy where adult learners are seen to be more independent can be seen when addressing these needs. Children have to be guided and be told that they need to do certain things step by step, and this is more demanding to the teacher.

Motivation is also another factor, and in children, there seems to be a lesser motivation to learn than in adults. Children mostly want to play or do something that is much more fun. The young learners have to be forced to sit in class and do what the teacher is telling them to do, and this is very different with adults who want to gain that knowledge that is being given to them by their tutor. In general, a young learner demands more attention and needs than the adult learner in almost all the particular aspects including discipline, life experience, and learning among others.

The theory that best explains these differences is pedagogy because it is primarily focused on education and how it can influence the growth of learners. This theory requires the teacher to be able to master specific skills to understand the needs of young learners. An example of this is a young adult needs to be supervised and be taken through what they are learning. As for adults, the teacher can send notes to the learners and give a test the following week.

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