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Adult Learning

Sabrina Bui

Learning Theories Part 2



Sociocultural learning theory, mainly advanced by Lev Vgotsky, highlights the significance of social interaction and cultural context in the learning process. Central to this theory is the notion that learning occurs through dynamic social interactions within cultural environments (McLeod, 2020). Vygotsky introduced concepts like the Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) and scaffolding, which highlight the role of support of the more knowledgeable other (MKO) (McLeod, 2020). Moreover, in this theory, memory is viewed as a socially mediated process, shaped by student interactions with others and the internalization of cultural tools like language and symbols (McLeod, 2020). According to this theory, learning unfolds through collaborative efforts, with language playing a key role in cognition and communication. This learning theory is particularly effective when looking at the social context of a classroom and the interactions between students and the MKO. Overall, sociocultural learning theory provides insight into the collaborative learning process, highlighting the key role of culture, language, and social interactions in shaping learning outcomes.McLeod, S. (2020). Vygotsky’s Sociocultural Theory of Cognitive Development. Simply Psychology. https://www.simplypsychology.org/vygotsky.html

Sociocultural learning theory

Connectivism learning theory emphasizes the important role of digital networks and technology in the learning process. George Siemens is one of the most prominent theorists of connectivism, who developed the theory in response to the changing landscapes of learning in the digital age (Kurt, 2023). Connectivism suggests that learning is distributed across a network of people and resources, highlighting the importance of being able to navigate and make sense of the vast information. Connectivism also acknowledges the rapid pace of knowledge creation, hence learners need to develop skills in critical thinking, network building, and information management. Moreover, in connectivism, memory is less about storing information and more about accessing information. Memory is distributed across networks and learners should leverage these external resources to access information (Kurt, 2023). In this theory, it occurs when learners are making connections and navigating networks. Hence, learners should engage in sense-making activities, where they have to filter, evaluate, and integrate information from various sources. Overall, connectivism helps explains learning in digital environments, such as online courses and social media platforms, and emphasizes the importance of continuous learning and adaptation in a rapidly changing information landscape.Kurt, Dr. S. (2023, September 25). Connectivism learning theory. Educational Technology. https://educationaltechnology.net/connectivism-learning-theory/

Connectivism learning theory

Malcolm Knowles is one of the most prominent theorists of adult learning theory, specifically andragogy, which focuses on the unique characteristics and needs of adult learners. Adult learning theory emphasizes self-directed learning, recognizing that adults are more motivated to learn when they perceive the learning as relevant to their lives and goals. Therefore, adult learning theory encourages learners to connect to prior experiences and knowledge as they shape new knowledge (Merriam, 2004). Similar to other theories, adult learning theories recognize the role of memory in encoding, storing, and retrieving information. Memory is an integral part of the process of building upon prior knowledge and experience to make sense of new information. Moreover, learning in adult education occurs through a blend of formal instruction, experiential learning, and self-directed exploration, with adults actively engaging in setting goals, seeking resources, and evaluating progress (Merriam, 2004). Overall, adult learning theory is particularly applicable where adult learners have autonomy and agency over their learning process, emphasizing practical skill development that ties into past experiences. Merriam, S. B. (2004). The changing landscape of adult learning theory. Review of adult learning and literacy: Connecting research, policy, and practice, 4, 199-220.

Adult learning theory