Adult learning v.s. traditional learning

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Comfortable Seating, Learning Resource Centre, Edge Hill University (Photo credit: jisc_infonet)
The adult learning environment has undergone changes with the introduction of Knowles concepts of learning. (Knowles, 2005)
This has led to instructors embracing constructivism in place of instructivism, with the idea that adults are best suited to this type of learning, constructing knowledge based on experience, becoming more action oriented than the passive student. Yet, the tenets of instructivism are not entirely expunged in adult learning. There may be a need for some instruction within the practice of constructivism. Minimal guidance can leave a student to construct on misinformation or delay acquiring the basic concepts that elevate a student to a more constructivist learning situation. (Kirschner, 2006) In an age where delivery of information is faster than previous generations, learning can be enhanced when time-saving details of finding solutions is provided by an instructor.
"The advantage of guidance begins to recede only when learners have sufficiently high prior knowledge to provide “internal” guidance." (Kirschner, 2006)
This is especially true because the vast amount of knowledge is more than any one person can sort through. (Kirschner, 2006) This is why people become specialists in one area, why medical doctors focus on only one system of the body, and why leaving a student to discover everything needed for that specialty becomes daunting. There is a value to the one-on-one tutor, the apprentice-type learning, where a student can "see" how it is done, or be given the correct steps to solving a a new problem. Discouragement can become one reason adults leave a class or seminar. Instructors with years of knowledge and experimenting are in a place where they can quickly disseminate this information, so the student has the correct tools to construct on that knowledge. Although some students may be able construct, given enough time and curiosity, the constructing phase can be improved when the student sees how it is done.(Kirschner, 2006)  No one would expect an athlete to train without guidance, without seeing how a hurdler goes over the hurdles. Some instruction is constructive and provides motivation.  (Goose, 2012)


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