Principles of Adult Learning In a Nutshell

If you’re interested in adult education and adult learning, you’ll want to check out Stephen Leib’s web page. He takes in-depth, complex principles of adult learning and distills them down into a plain language brief that prints off in about 3 pages.

He talks about adult learners as being autonomous, self-directed, goal-oriented and practical. He outlines why learning for adults needs to be relevant to their needs and useful in their everyday or professional lives. He points out how adult learners bring a richness of life experience with them to the classroom or learning environment.

These principles apply to high level professionals taking executive education programs or those taking adult basic literacy and education (ABLE) programs.

If you’re a learning professional who works with adults, this resource is a must read.


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Sarah Elaine Eaton is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada.

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