In today’s world of high technologies and in the informative society era, it is extremely important to be well educated and modern person in order to occupy the niche in a particular segment of social life and economical activity. That is why the adult learning is the constant process for the person of the 21st century.
First of all, in the scope of this research paper it is important to rely on the fact that the adult learning (or adult education) puts an emphasis on the critical reflection on assumptions, contextual understanding and on the validate meaning by assessing reasons. Jack Mezirow considers that the core essence of human knowledge and beliefs, values and feelings is covered by historical, cultural and biographical contexts. The author considers that these factors are embedded into the human brain. That is why educators should put an emphasis on the process of the education program development; on the fact that human understandings and beliefs are considered to be more dependable in the cases when the opinions and interpretations are produced and these issues, in turn, are more justifiable than those opinions, which are mainly based on the understandings and beliefs of other people.
Adult Learning Models
There are four making meaning models identified by Bruner (1996). They are the following: (1) intersubjectivity establishment, its shaping, and maintenance; (2) interrelation of the set of events, behavior and utterances to the undertaken actions; (3) constructing of particulars in the normative context, which deals with the meaningful relative obligations, deviations, standards and conformities. The last model implies the proposition development – when the rules of the symbolic, conceptual and syntactic system are applied into the practice in order to get the decontextualized meanings, which include the logic and the rules of inference, and such distinctions as the object-attribute, whole part and identity-otherness.
Jack Mezirow puts an emphasis on the fact that the transformative learning implies the process of participation in the constructive discourse in order to apply the experience of other people for accessing the reasons, which allow to justify the assumptions of each particular individual. According to Mezirow (2000), people make an action decision relying on the resulting insight.
According to the approach developed by Habermas in 1984, there are two key domains of learning (instrumental learning and communicate learning), which have different purposes: criteria of rationality, logic of inquiry and validating beliefs models.
In order to be successful in the adult learning, it is important to look for such points of view, which challenge the prevailing norms of the dominative culture in the light of gender, class, race, environmental protection, technology etc. One of the arguments to support this approach is the fact that the agreement, which is based on the unchallenged cultural norms, would be less informed and dependable in comparison to those, which is based on the wider range of practical experience.
When referring to the approach developed by Sharan B. Merriam, Rosemary S. Caffarella, Lisa M. Baumgartner, it is possible to say that the adult developmental characteristics should be considered and analysed from the following perspectives: psychological change, biological aging, impact of the sociocultural factors on the development of personality and finally, the integrative paradigm of human being.
In order to reach the better understanding of the interrelation between the adult development and adult learning, Sharan B. Merriam, Rosemary S. Caffarella and Lisa M. Baumgartner have suggested the educators to reject the multiple explanations of the adulthood essence for adults and to substitute it with relying on one or two paradigms. It is essential for the educators to understand and to know the changes, which take place in human life and their impact on the ability to be educated and to manage and get additional knowledge in a particular age.
The last issue to be discussed in the scopes of the adult education is the self-direction in learning, which has been investigated by Ralph Grover Brockett and Roger Hiemstra. These authors consider such approach as the style of life and as the basic idea for successful educative process both for educators and for educated adults (Brockett et al, 1991).
The authors claim that the self-directed education should be considered as the lifelong learning perspective. It is not appropriate to consider the lifelong learning as an exclusive domain of the adult educators because it mainly refers to the learning process, that, in turn, takes place throughout the entire lifespan. Kidd (1973) has supported this approach in the following manner: “It has often been said that the purpose of the adult education or of any kind of education, is I make the subject a continuing “inner directed” self operating learning”. Also, there is one more method of self-directed learning monitoring – 2*2 matrix – which has been offered by Mocker and Spear (1982). This matrix is mainly based on the learner vs. institutional control over the core objectives, stated by the educational plan.
To conclude, it is important to put an emphasis on the fact that the adult education is investigated in different contexts – its core specific features, the factors, which should be taken into account while following the educational program, and applying the educational approaches to the practice. Finally, the ways of its effective monitoring are also developed by the scholars in order to evaluate the most effective approach towards the particular person, one’s needs, rate of responsibility and initial natural abilities.