Theoretical Reflection on Adult Learning Theories


In an emerging knowledge world, some problem are best investigated through theoretical terms as it provide future researchers with more creative channels of understanding a phenomena, or even resolving a problem. Certainly, the academia community has fully benefitted from theoretical structures as they provide abstract and stable reasoning of a time. The medical field has experienced more practical reasoning using a theory. Positively, the public community desires theories that will help guide different knowledge structures. Considering the influx of adult learners on our emerging 24 hour faculties, theories would help educate adult learners on a reliable learning plan, one that respect status.  

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Also considered self-education theory, the theory notes self-teaching and self-learning requires guidance and masters, directed by institutions, teachers, and professors based on the quality of the study material, rhythm, and time. Autodidacticism is considered a complementary education theory that obtained popularity self-directed learning. According to Jo (2011, p. 625) notes a successful self-teaching requires appropriate reflective capabilities, generation of self-discipline while developing personal learning ideas that are modelled to develop a reliable interactional environment . 

Experiential Learning Theory

The theory invokes the process of learning through experiences which further surrounding learning through reflection. The experimental learning process involves students reflecting on their production by engaging an active and passive role. Experimental learning entails a hands on approach engaging knowledge transfer to students through a more organized learning approach (Beard, 2007, p. 6). 

Transformative Learning Theory

The theory engages perspective transformation based on three dimensions of psychological changes, revision of belief systems, as well invokes behavioral changes. Perspective transformation helps in developing dramatic predicament useful in promoting transformation while further invoking positive beliefs and consciously implementing positive plans (Illeris, 2004 p. 86). 

Soundness of Each Theory

Each of these theories present better alternatives towards guiding an adult learner on the philosophical approach towards knowledge acquisition. Autodidacticism extends beyond the self-engaged learning by introducing enthusiasm of unguided education, of self-motivation and the development of strong institutional social mobilization. Autodidacticism is closely related with the enlightened ethos describing the nature of perfect societies that depended on the experiences of individuals rational thought. Autodidact remains outstanding since it presents lifelong learning theory that initiates strategic self-directed component. Autodidacts always presents outlines of knowledge, presenting a field of interests acquired through the learning process.

Secondly, adults should be exposed to experimental learning since the learning process presents practical skills, critical thinking, decision making skills and problem solution, interesting avoiding the burden of exams. Through experiments it is possible increase engagement levels of students. The theory is also sound since it accelerates learning, produces demonstrable mindset changes, and safe learning environment. 

Thirdly, transformative learning integrates principles of andragogy such as self-concept, readiness to learn, and role of experience. Most critical transformative learning integrates a critical reflection which involves challenging assumptions people lie on. The transformative learning also integrates open-ended questions, useful in drawing thoughtful online discussions. Lastly, the skills presents a direct and active experience, presenting meaningful learners.
Personal Adult Theory – Instigative Learning Theory

Instigative Learning inspires arousal, action, launch, and institution as well organizing a well-functioning that would play a useful role in influencing and persuasion positive learning thoughts. Humankind and certainly adults often face challenges in lacking skills that would sponsor them to a desirable socioeconomic, political and cultural lifestyle. 

Given adult education is considered many voluntary and often unnecessary, it is vital to inspire learners with a theory that guide them through a purpose of learning. Principles of goals, and principles of learning surrounding teaching approach are rounded to improve the student learning and success. The approach is further based on conceptual model and a practical framework aligning teaching, learning and assessment strategy. An adult curriculum should focus in helping the individual to identify personal goals. The focus is towards increasing quality and quantity surrounding formative learning assessments. An adult student should learn to make personal judgments that reflect a much higher IQ, as such the Instigative Learning Theory, presents questions on actions that surrounds quality of output from the different tasks. 

Besides, Instigative Learning Theory enhances the learner ability to communicate within a philosophical, professional or academic environment. Through the learner can easily replicate what they learnt from class to develop creative way of solving problems while being in position to account for quality learning process. Given the theory integrates co-constructivists learning approach, it is possible to describe the loops emphasize on the feedback learning process also encouraging confidence in dealing with complexity, flexibility while developing making instrumental connections of different life triggers. Furthermore, instigative learning theory integrates six basic assumption and reasoning

  • Humanism is naturally good, 
  • Strive towards developing freedom and autonomous systems
  • Work positively towards self-actualization in an innate human goal
  • Developing a responsible and potential way towards resolving challenges affecting humankind
  • Creating individuality and uniqueness for the persona valued

Learning from a humanists perspective further surrounds facilitates roles towards information development as well taking responsibility for the learning process. The student-centered environment also requires self-actualization learning approaches for personal procedures for motivation and intrinsic approach. The collaboration and group work also looks at separate ways of knowledge. By instigating individuals towards self-development and freedom approaches, it is possible to develop personal control towards knowledge trajectory.
Influence to Theory

In house Instigative Learning Theory, pairs with the three main learning theories expectations surrounding constructivism, cognitivist and behaviorism. The theory also pairs with the experimental and transformative learning visited earlier, given that it presents technical approaches towards resolving challenges affecting lack of knowledge. The theory blends with the above theories given that it integrates an imaginative and nurturing role which presents stronger perspectives towards quality reflection and discernment towards inner individuation earning through.  Volkmann & Bye (2006, p. 157) also supports the theory by noting that having an instigated mind, one will adhere to a tight and responsive work discipline. The theory also presents a stronger theoretical foundation which promotes the strategic approaches towards resolves socioeconomic and political challenges that cripple modern humankind.
Target Learner Audience. 

Characteristics of target learner audience related to the teaching and learning environment based on the Instigative Learning Theory fully focuses towards the teacher introducing the concept to the adult learner, while the learner advances the concept. The suggested teaching and learning environment often requires cooperation between students and teacher. In such an environment, the students asks questions, the questions are aimed at interpreting learning environment, presenting curiosity prospects with meaningful interactions of texts. As well, the questions are valued over answers making a positive learning environment, which also includes creative learning environment develop an honest opinion of the subject under investigation. Thirdly, in such a learning environment, ideas come from divergent sources used for formalized learning process. The resources are spinner to an angle of cultural mentorship, community and content expertise. 

Also, the theory inspires an inquiry based learning approach which integrates peer-to-peer learning experience. In an Instigative Learning Theory environment, it is possible to understand the possible radical transfer happening in design and best idea development. The theory best reaches to learners by solidifying the learning approach which incorporates a positive knowledge development framework. 

Thirdly, the personalized learning criteria also integrates a consistent differentiation challenge that hopes at inspiring interests, and readiness for content. Adjusting a positive pace and entry point inspires learners to fully understand the learning environment. An adult learner will be inspired towards approaching vast content but also engaging on communication tendencies that help in resolving challenges. 

Lastly, the theory also focuses on success in a highly effective classroom environment which further surrounds individual factors, presenting a cohesive framework and ensuring that quality learning is generated. The learning habits are modeled through cognitive, behavioral good stuff, flexibility, priority, collaboration, creativity and revision which focuses on didactic and indirect and observational (Larotta, 2007, p. 25).
Theory serve Particular Population 

Most inmate populations often face challenges of learning, with most of them being high school or college dropouts. Without proper inspiration, most of these individuals easily slide back to undesired activities, given they fail to lack a reliable integration phenomena. The theory sees that individuals identifies themselves, while motivating them to blend back to the society. The theory heavily considers benevolent actions, where an individual is motivated to learn to serve the society positively providing full knowledge on how to handle challenges existing in the society. Helping these individuals with philosophical knowledge will reduce their zeal to involve in crime, as well promote their ability to understand their individual purpose in life.
Prediction the future path 

The future of adult education remains uncertain but yet competitive. More teenagers drop out of school due to lack of funding or possible delinquent behavior. Most adults suffer from technology related integration. As such, for future quality learning, there are broader aims which surrounds positive mindset which focus on social and emotional learning. The self and social awareness of future learning, is further surrounded by responsible decision making on what education will require. Secondly, in the future, teachers will have to generate better feedback for learning systems, developing a real time digital curriculum strategy. Lastly, in line with three theories and the Instigative Learning Theory champions learning support that focuses on monitoring and connections that further inspires supportive services that are based on active dialogue with adult learners as well developing a learning approach for monitoring, tutoring and coaching.

The theory of inclusive design often presents iterative assessments that using theoretical models surrounding industry practice. For adult learners, they need to understand that their academic involvement will improve their own skills, possibly enriching the cognitive abilities as well required to enhance their leader skills. 

Transformative Leadership Theory

At adult age, most people returning to school realize the need for professional leadership. Transformative leadership theory introduces resources that will improve what shared from the transformation learning theory as well as our theory, instigative learning theory. It is important to consider the nature of attitudes that that are being drawn towards realizing inclusivity. 

Digitization Theory

By introducing Internet of Things, Big Data, Cloud systems, and Artificial Intelligence, it will be possible to evolve the adult human brain towards one that serves in knowledge based systems. The digitization theory currently in process should focus on reliable technologies such as quantum physics or Nano that allow the adult brain to integrate experience and knowledge.


Beard, C. (2007). Towards a Theory of e-Learning: Experimental Learning. The Journal Of Hospitality Leisure Sport And Tourism6(2), 3-15. doi: 10.3794/johlste.62.127

Dong, H., Clarkson, P., Cassim, J., & Keates, S. (2003). Implementing Inclusive Design: The Discrepancy between Theory and Practice. The Design Journal8(2), 49-59. doi: 10.2752/146069205789331628

Illeris, K. (2004). Transformative Learning in the Perspective of a Comprehensive Learning Theory. Journal Of Transformative Education2(2), 79-89. doi: 10.1177/1541344603262315

Jo, S. (2011). A Study of Factors Effecting on Gifted Students’ Achievement : Self-determination, Learning Goal-orientation, Self-efficacy, Implicit Theory of Intelligence, and Self-regulated Learning StrategyJournal Of Gifted/Talented Education21(3), 611-630. doi: 10.9722/jgte.2011.21.3.611

Larotta, C. (2007). Inquiry in the Adult Classroom: An ESL Literacy Experience. Adult Learning18(3-4), 25-29. doi: 10.1177/104515950701800305Volkmann, B., & Bye, L. (2006). Improved School Attendance through Adult Volunteer Reading Partners. Children & Schools28(3), 145-152. doi: 10.1093/cs/28.3.145

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