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Principles of adult learning

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Last updated 26 October 2012 15:28 by NZTecAdmin

Starting Points: Using the Learning Progressions for Adult Literacy follows recognised thinking around adult learning principles and employs educational approaches and activities based on the ways adults learn. The principles of adult learning5 that underpin this resource are as follows:

  • Adults are self-directed learners and are capable of independent learning.
  • Adult learners draw on their previous experiences of life and learning, and bring these experiences to bear on new learning.
  • Learning needs to be directly related to the developmental tasks of an adult’s social roles and directly applicable to real-life issues.
  • Motivation factors for adult learners are deep-seated and internally derived.

Each of these principles has direct relevance to the development and use of Starting Points: Supporting the Learning Progressions for Adult Literacy. The principles are explained in Appendix B.

5 Knowles, 1990. Knowles makes the distinction between pedagogy (or teaching oriented towards young learners) and andragogy (the study of how adults learn).


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