The learning theories that relate to my experiences as an adult learner include behaviorism and constructivism. I learn by using instructions and examples. I use instructions in performing various functions, for instance, to find the instructional materials that I will use, to assess the available materials, specify learning activities, and make a decision on how I will deliver content to learners. The behaviorism theory assumes that the mind of a born individual is an empty vessel that is filled with information from the environment. It applies to me because as a teacher, am supposed to pass knowledge from the environment to the learners (Kenner & Weinerman, 2011, p. 85). This theory depends on instructionism, transmission, and control on the part of the teacher. As a teacher, am supposed to direct or rather give students instructions on what they are supposed to do. This implies that as a teacher I always transmit the knowledge that I understand to my students. My main aim is to interpret things that I understand to my students through giving examples. I make sure that students understand about the world and they are supposed to reproduce the information and structure in their thinking.
The elements of the theories that apply to me are observing. Behaviorism theory is mainly concerned with learning through observing. The surroundings that I can refer to my source of examples shapes my behavior and the learning process that is supposed to involve small steps (Londell, n.d, p.5.). According to this theory, I learn based on the elements that are found in my surroundings and the immediate environments. In adult education, specifically behaviorism is the philosophy that motivates majority of the adult careers. There are also various cognitive theory elements that apply to me, for instance, style of learning, training, and the needs of learners. Constructivists refer to learning as a process where an individual’s acquires ideas that enable him/her to learn. This theory puts an individual in the center of learning and it is viewed as a highly individual process. The element that applies to me is the teacher being a facilitator. My career background comprises teaching young children and educating their families and this theory is of great significance to me in various ways. For instance, it has assisted me to get new material for the students through solving various tasks and getting interesting tasks for them.
As a teacher, I make sure that students acquire new skills by letting them make steps on their own. This theory is also relevant to my teaching because I provide various learning explanations to students on several topics with a popular focus on the internal mental process that is under the control of learners. The social cognitive theory is also applicable to my teaching career. This theory holds that individuals cannot only learn through observing, but there should be reinforcement of whatever was learned. As an adult educator, I always acquire knowledge and information through interacting with other people and at the same time, I pass this information to my learners.
My new understanding of adult learning theories will affect my future work as an adult educator in various ways. For instance, I will understand what is expected to do when dealing with my learners, for example, they are not only supposed to learn by observing, but they are expected to replicate whatever they have learned in their thinking. As an educator, I will make sure that I teach my students by giving instructions and examples and this can be done through observing. After they have observed, I will make sure that my students are in a position to reproduce whatever they have observed in the environment through learning. There are various ways that I might need to broaden my thinking so that I can help other adults learn successfully, for instance, firstly, I should understand the needs and interests of the adult learners. I should also come up with strategies that would enable me create a conducive classroom environment that will make the adults feel supported, accepted, and respected. For example, am supposed to be self-directing so that adult learners can take part in the diagnosis of their learning needs, and planning and executing of their learning experiences and the assessment of those experiences (Merriam et al, 2007, p. 87).
I also need to deepen my thinking when it comes to content delivery. For instance, I should understand that there are various categories of adult learners, for example, slow and fats learners. I first need to understand the type of students that I have and later on find the appropriate strategy of dealing with each one of them. I believe this will assist other adults learn successfully, especially if their needs are met in the appropriate manner. Lastly, basing on the fact that I put up in a society that is surrounded by educated and learned people, I can freely interact with them and get ideas on how I can help the adult learners to learn successfully (Rutherford-Hemming, 2012, p. 56).
In conclusion, I will apply the various elements of the learning theories to see to it that my adult learners are successful in their learning.
Kenner, C., & Weinerman, J. (2011). Adult Learning Theory: Applications to Non-Traditional College Students. Journal of College Reading and Learning, 41(2), 87–96.
Londell, J. (n.d.). Revisiting Adult Learning Theory through the Lens of an Adult Learner (1st ed.). Retrieved from http://web.b.ebscohost.com/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=9&sid=be83543b-9d7c-446b-ad34-7caa23d50b7b%40sessionmgr198&hid=122
Merriam, S. B., Caffarella, R. S., & Baumgartner, L. M. (2007). Learning in adulthood: A comprehensive guide (3rd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Rutherford-Hemming, T. (2012). Simulation methodology in nursing education and adult learning theory. Adult Learning, 23(3), 129-137.