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According to one 1984 study, sound, light, temperature, and design are environmental characteristics that may hamper an adult's ability to learn (Denny). For example, a room's temperature can affect adults, especially elderly adults' ability to concentrate on new or difficult material, thus there are better learning results when the environmental surroundings are comfortable and relaxing (Denny). Other researchers have found that adults learn in one of two processing styles, global and analytic (Denny). Global learners learn through short stories, illustrations and graphics, and also need to know what is expected of them and why (Denny). Analytical learners focus on fact-by-fact accounts, and need the information to be presented in a step-by-step manner (Denny).
Research also reveals that perceptual strengths, food intake, times of day or night, and mobility affect an adult's learning experience (Denny). While some adults prefer to learn new material by hearing the information, others may prefer kinesthetic involvement (Denny). Moreover, some adults may need to snack at regular intervals while studying, while others may not consume food or beverages for hours while learning (Denny). The time of day in which learning occurs also has an impact on an adult's ability to learn (Denny). Therefore, an adult may only be able to enroll in an evening class, but may prefer the morning to learn information (Denny). Furthermore, the ability to move around while learning may also play an important role in an adult's ability to learn (Denny).
Motivation, persistence, responsibility and a need for structure make up the emotional characteristics of R. Dunn's learning theory model (Denny). According to Dunn, emotional characteristics are different from other characteristics, in that these characteristics are internal, therefore, motivation correlates with achievement, thus, if the adult is not motivated, then it may be difficult to keep him or her in a learning environment (Denny). Sociological aspects of the learning environment are important factors in an adult's ability to learn (Denny). Some adults prefer to learn alone, while others may prefer to learn in groups (Denny). Moreover, some adults may need a considerable amount of structure, while others are extremely self-directed (Denny).
Although researchers have focused on learning styles in children, learning styles are just as critical to adults (Denny). Adult learning approaches are not one-dimensional, for one of the foundations for adult learning is life experience (Denny). One researcher noted these characteristics of adult learners: "(a) self-directed, (b) centered on solving the problem at hand, (c) focused on the application of the material being presented, and (d) involved in their life experiences" (Denny). Based on past learning experiences, some adults have insight into their own learning preferences, therefore, it is important for adult learners to understand how they can use learning styles to their advantage, because knowing the style of one's learning can provide connections between teaching strategies a
Names mentioned in this term paper
Denny, Tomei, Kennedy, Marcia Halio, Pegg, Sanders,
Organizations referenced in this research material
American Association for Adult Education,
Locations referenced in this research material
Keywords mentioned in this research material
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