Adults learn best when learning by and from experience
Witt, 2003. Manning, 2003. Michelson, 1996. Wilhelm, 1997). The child is a professional learner and his/her life revolves around school attendance and study, to the degree that learning may be defined as the child’s foremost priority and responsibility. The situation is entirely different where the adult learner is concerned, with career and familial responsibilities functioning as the foremost priorities and study/learning, a secondary concern which may even be resented insofar as it impinges upon the adult’s free time or the attention he wants to direct towards his other concerns (DeWitt, 2003. Manning, 2003. Michelson, 1996. Wilhelm, 1997). The articulated differential between adult and child learners has given rise to an entire body of literature on adult learning and teaching approaches and strategies. Each of the theories or learning strategies proposed for employment with adult learners is validated by a wealth of empirical evidence but, educational psychologists have incontrovertibly established experiential learning to be the optimal learning strategy vis–vis adults. Through a discursive analysis of this particular learning theory, its application s and outcomes, concomitant with a subjective experiential overview, the essay shall affirm the utility of this teaching-learning approach and argue that its strength primarily emanates from the fact that it embraces the principles of variant learning-teaching theories but maintains that assimilation of the learnt can only occur pending practice an application. However, rather than simply proceed from the assumption that adults learn best when they learn from, by and through experience, the essay shall first overview the scholarship of learning, present the variant and more popular of the learning theories and argue that even though each is inherently valid, experiential learning remains the most effect vis–vis the adult student both because it embraces the major precepts and teaching strategies presented by those theories and extends beyond their confines. Nevertheless, and as the argument shall highlight, irrespective of the learning theory that a tutor selects, if the aim is to create a dynamic and constructive learning environment, characterised by efficient and effective learning, the tutor must integrate elements of the experiential learning theory into his/her teaching style, especially as pertains to learning from, by and through experience.
The Scholarship of Learning
Learning theories abound and rose in concomitance with the evolution of psychology and formalised educational systems. The primary aim of the aforementioned theories, as Ehreman and Oxford (1990) explain was the development of the ideal learning and teaching strategy. In immediate comparison, the scholarship of learning and teaching is a recent pedagogical development. Defined by Kreber and Cranton (2000) as the systemisation of academic inquiry and research into the most effective, or ideal teaching and learning