ERIC Number: ED215085
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981
Reference Count: 0
The Role of Adult Experience in Learning: Consequences for the Classroom.
In order to capitalize on the learning experience which adults bring to the classroom, it is necessary to identify some of the components of the self-initiated learning cycle. A study of 12 adult graduate students' learning experiences in an adult learning class was used to identify a common pattern of experience. The pattern of the learning process was a cycle involving four phases. In the first phase ("detachment"), the learner relates to experience primarily through preconceived notions. In the second ("divergence") phase, the learner departs from these preconceived notions and becomes confused; he/she tends to withdraw from others. The third ("engagement") phase is characterized by the learner being able to relax without having a solution to the confusion, leading to an intuitively-guided exploration in which decisions are made in the face of particulars rather than in the light of a preconceived plan. The learner and colleagues experience connections and insights, leading to the final "convergence" phase, which features a sudden emergence of a major insight, a new understanding, a resolution to the inquiry issue which arose in the divergence phase. This phase is characterized by excitement and intensity; it emerges from solitary reflection, but in it the learner needs to share the discovery with others whom he/she associates with the inquiry. There follows a return to the detachment phase with a new sense of experience to approach the next learning situation. In order for this learning process to be facilitated, institutions should make changes in policies for admissions processes, required courses, emphasis on performance, fixed objectives and deadlines, and lack of understanding of what is involved in an experience-related learning process. (KC)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Joint Conference of the Association of Community Colleges in Canada and the Canadian Vocational Association (Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, June 1, 1981).