Adult Learning

Whether unschooling or not, learning does not end at childhood. In can continue throughout adulthood with adult learning. Simply put, adult learning entails the process of adults studying, reviewing, and absorbing new information. Adult learning has similarities and differences to childhood learning.

For unschoolers, adult learning resembles childhood learning more than conventional education methods, because unschooling involves treating children much more like adults than stricter and more authority-based education styles. Like unschooled children, adults usually learn on their own freewill. They learn because they want to learn, and they study the topics that interest them or that they otherwise want to learn. For example, an adult might study computer mechanics if they want to build their own computer.

Like childhood learning, adult learning can come in many forms. Adults can learn through structured schools and universities, or they can learn by taking incidental classes or by studying on their own. Books, libraries, and the internet all offer adults a great opportunity for self-education, which most every adult utilizes to varying degrees.

Adult learning differs from child learning in some significant ways. Firstly, adults have a limited ability to learn large amounts of new material, because biologically people do most of their learning as children. For example, it will take much longer to teach a new language to an than it will to teach it to a child. Also, Adults usually approach learning in a much more goal-oriented and practical fashion. Adults learn and study new subjects for specific reasons. This contrasts to children who more often learn just out of curiosity. Thus adult learning must focus on making note of how adults will use the new knowledge in practice and how the knowledge will benefit them. Adults have more life-experience and background knowledge, which helps them understand new concepts. Thus, adult learning can include more advanced and intricate ideas.

Adult learning often focuses on topics that interest adults, such as politics, society, and business. Many times adults will learn about their own field of business or employment.

We hope this article answered all your questions about adult learning. If you have any remaining questions, or if you have any comments or suggestions, please post them in our Education Forums.

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