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The Adult Learner: The Definitive Classic in Adult Education and Human Resource Development

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This much acclaimed text has been fully updated to incorporate the latest advances in the field. As leading authorities on adult education and training, Elwood Holton and Dick Swanson have revised this edition building on the work of the late Malcolm Knolwes. Keeping to the practical format of the last edition, this book is divided into three parts. The first part contains This much acclaimed text has been fully updated to incorporate the latest advances in the field. As leading authorities on adult education and training, Elwood Holton and Dick Swanson have revised this edition building on the work of the late Malcolm Knolwes. Keeping to the practical format of the last edition, this book is divided into three parts. The first part contains the classic chapters that describe the roots and principles of andragogy, including a new chapter, which presents Knowles program planning model. The second part focuses on the advancements in adult learning with each chapter fully revised updated, incorporating a major expansion of Androgogy in Practice. The last part of the book will contain an updated selection of topical readings that advance the theory and will include the HRD style inventory developed by Dr. Knowles. This new edition is essential reading for adult learning practitioners and students and HRD professionals. It provides a theoretical framework for understanding the adult learning issues both in the teaching and workplace environments.


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This much acclaimed text has been fully updated to incorporate the latest advances in the field. As leading authorities on adult education and training, Elwood Holton and Dick Swanson have revised this edition building on the work of the late Malcolm Knolwes. Keeping to the practical format of the last edition, this book is divided into three parts. The first part contains This much acclaimed text has been fully updated to incorporate the latest advances in the field. As leading authorities on adult education and training, Elwood Holton and Dick Swanson have revised this edition building on the work of the late Malcolm Knolwes. Keeping to the practical format of the last edition, this book is divided into three parts. The first part contains the classic chapters that describe the roots and principles of andragogy, including a new chapter, which presents Knowles program planning model. The second part focuses on the advancements in adult learning with each chapter fully revised updated, incorporating a major expansion of Androgogy in Practice. The last part of the book will contain an updated selection of topical readings that advance the theory and will include the HRD style inventory developed by Dr. Knowles. This new edition is essential reading for adult learning practitioners and students and HRD professionals. It provides a theoretical framework for understanding the adult learning issues both in the teaching and workplace environments.

30 review for The Adult Learner: The Definitive Classic in Adult Education and Human Resource Development

  1. 5 out of 5

    Edward O'Neill

    Life-changing. Adults need to shape and control their own learning. They need help doing it. Adults do not need someone pushing content at them until their minds fill up like a cup. Knowles gives a clear overview of what is at once a philosophical orientation and an evidence-based pedagogical approach. A must-read for adults who care about learning.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Paul Signorelli

    Reading the sixth edition of "The Adult Learner" reminds us why the book justifiably carries the subtitle "The Definitive Classic in Adult Education and Human Resource Development"--and why a seventh edition is also available. It's thoughtful. It's thorough. It's engaging. It acknowledges its limitations. It surveys a variety of other seminal learning texts produced over a period of several decades and leaves us with nearly 40 pages of additional resources to explore. And, most importantly, it r Reading the sixth edition of "The Adult Learner" reminds us why the book justifiably carries the subtitle "The Definitive Classic in Adult Education and Human Resource Development"--and why a seventh edition is also available. It's thoughtful. It's thorough. It's engaging. It acknowledges its limitations. It surveys a variety of other seminal learning texts produced over a period of several decades and leaves us with nearly 40 pages of additional resources to explore. And, most importantly, it reminds us of how consistently we have identified and sought solutions to the challenges learners of all ages face and also reminds us how far we still have to go in effectively responding to those challenges. It offers an approach to learning that is compatible with what others, including Eduard Lindeman, Carl Rogers, and Robert Gagné, have written in their own classic works on learning. It's an approach that appeals to us at a personal level and that can easily be recognized in our own experiences and drive to remain immersed in learning. And it supports a wonderfully inspiring philosophy expressed by Canadian psychologist Sidney Journard in 1972 and included in "The Adult Learner": "Learning is not a task or problem; it is a way to be in the world" (p. 15)--words that might help all of us be more effective in our efforts to facilitate training-teaching-learning that produces positive results.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    Outstanding resource for those involved in designing, delivering, or assessing educational and training efforts targeting adults.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Earl Grey Tea

    This book wasn't written for people who want to get better in educating adult learners. It was written for other academics. This book is worthy of two stars - it was okay - only because I was able to learn a few things that could help me in my classrooms for corporate training. A handful of chapters in the middle of the book and a couple at the end had the most relevant and accessible information for people who are actual educators like myself. For the rest of the book, most of it was filled with This book wasn't written for people who want to get better in educating adult learners. It was written for other academics. This book is worthy of two stars - it was okay - only because I was able to learn a few things that could help me in my classrooms for corporate training. A handful of chapters in the middle of the book and a couple at the end had the most relevant and accessible information for people who are actual educators like myself. For the rest of the book, most of it was filled with esoteric ideas, academic jargon, high level theories with little information for practical application, and convoluted paragraphs seemingly aimed at impressing other scholars. Early on in this book, when the author discussed a convention attended by philosophers to answer four key questions about adult education and learning, I actually burst out laughing when the author declared the academics left without being able to answer anything. It's items like this that make me shy away from scholastic books such as this one. For those looking to improve their ability to educate and train adult learners, I would try to look for resources from actual teachers and trainers who share what they do to be successful. From there, one can try to emulate and improve upon these suggestions and see if it works with their personality, strengths, and particular classroom environment.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Eric Montag

    I am fascinated by how people learn, so I found the book very interesting. The authors make a point of saying that for a long time, people didn't understand how adults learn, and so adults were taught in the same way that you might teach a child or a pet. After reading the book, I think I have a better understanding of what motivates adults. I like things explained simply, and I felt that for the most part, the book did a good job of doing that. Some parts of the book were a little dry, so I ski I am fascinated by how people learn, so I found the book very interesting. The authors make a point of saying that for a long time, people didn't understand how adults learn, and so adults were taught in the same way that you might teach a child or a pet. After reading the book, I think I have a better understanding of what motivates adults. I like things explained simply, and I felt that for the most part, the book did a good job of doing that. Some parts of the book were a little dry, so I skipped those. However, I still ended up reading about 80% of the book.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Graham Bates

    Essential reading if you are in any form of training/teaching adults. Gives theoretical foundation of how adults learn then practical guides on how to develop trainings. Provides detailed instructions on how a facilitator should structure the course, how to develop a contract for students to know what will happen and what is expected of them, and 12 common issues that surface during trainings. Well documented and has aged well.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Savanna

    I found the discussion of the 6 core concepts of andragogy to be really enlightening-- especially the portions on self-directed learning. However a good bit of the middle of the book is truly for scholars of andragogy that want to trace its theoretical origins, which is less practical for educators.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Nadia

    The Andragogy chapters are incredibly heady and difficult to get through. Even though I am an adult education educator, I found the Human Resource Development and corporate training chapters the most interesting. Perhaps because they are more hands on and practical than the theory chapters. This is a great reference book to have for both theory and HRD and I highly recommend it for anyone who works in adult learning environments. Four stars instead of five because there are not any practical cha The Andragogy chapters are incredibly heady and difficult to get through. Even though I am an adult education educator, I found the Human Resource Development and corporate training chapters the most interesting. Perhaps because they are more hands on and practical than the theory chapters. This is a great reference book to have for both theory and HRD and I highly recommend it for anyone who works in adult learning environments. Four stars instead of five because there are not any practical chapters on teaching adults in non corporate environments.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Diana Sung

    Some good stuff in here (and obviously, Knowles is a great theorist to respect in Adult Education work), but much remains dated. The updates were more summaries of recent research than strong insights and the theory remains largely untested.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Victors

    Super helpful advice and references to find more info. This is the 2005 ed.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Sylvie

    Boring as hell and not at all as informative as I hoped. It lacks structure and readability in such a way that information would stuck.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Kristin

    Way more learning theory than I currently need and shy on practicals which I really need.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Matt Danner

    I read this for work research. Not enjoyable, pretty dry stuff but a good reference.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Brad Fry

    A very academic read, so not a 5. Invaluable, nonetheless.

  15. 5 out of 5

    M.L.S. Weech

    A great way to start working toward more effective teaching strategies for adult learners. A full review is already on my blog.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Hashem

    Audience: anyone involved with adult learning, researchers, students in education, or human resource development. Overview: a comprehensively updated view of the original "Adult learner" by Knowles in 5 parts. It starts by providing a snapshot of the six principles of andragogy with full details in the subsequent chapters. Also, it describes the evolution of adult education and development of andragogy. As well as the andragogical process model elements with providing practical case examples. H Audience: anyone involved with adult learning, researchers, students in education, or human resource development. Overview: a comprehensively updated view of the original "Adult learner" by Knowles in 5 parts. It starts by providing a snapshot of the six principles of andragogy with full details in the subsequent chapters. Also, it describes the evolution of adult education and development of andragogy. As well as the andragogical process model elements with providing practical case examples. How the learning plays an important role in Human resource development. Other/new perspective of adult education detailed in a separate chapter. Two new chapter about the contribution and advantages of information technology and basic neuroscience in Adult learning! Part 4 consist of six independent manuscripts and tools; each highlights an aspect of adult learning. Part 5: historical, future and international (mainly Europe) perspective of adult education. Strength: Summary and reflection questions at the end of each chapter. Use of tables, figures, and new practical part with useful tools as well as a companion website for "course instructor." Weakness: It contains a lot of detailed quotation from a significant leading textbook and journal. It’s not specified for (medical) education and contain very few clinical examples or medical-oriented language!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Robert Bogue

    It takes a lot of moxie to call yourself a definitive classic. However, the subtitle of The Adult Learner is probably correct. I picked up the book because of my work on the SharePoint Shepherd Presents DVD series. The goal of the series is to make learning more accessible to people who need it. The series started with some preliminary research on the challenges of getting specific content at a time that was appropriate. I was being asked by customers – who were ready to make a move – when there It takes a lot of moxie to call yourself a definitive classic. However, the subtitle of The Adult Learner is probably correct. I picked up the book because of my work on the SharePoint Shepherd Presents DVD series. The goal of the series is to make learning more accessible to people who need it. The series started with some preliminary research on the challenges of getting specific content at a time that was appropriate. I was being asked by customers – who were ready to make a move – when there would be a conference they could attend that would have what they need. Even with the conferences cranked up to full speed it was an average of three months away for someone to get to the conference that would get them the information they wanted and even then there would always be gaps. A conference organizer has to pick and choose with limited slots what content they want to have delivered. All of this lead to the realization that we needed a way for people to get to the information they needed – when they needed it. Click here to read the full review

  18. 5 out of 5

    Mamdouh

    It is very interesting to know that according to Cyril O. Houle, there are 3 types of adult learners: 1. The goal-Oriented learners Who normally have fairly clear cut objectives, their continuing education happen in episodes, don't have even, steady or continuous flow of the learning. they basically satisfy the need to learn by taking a course 2. The Activity-Oriented learners Who take part because they find in the circumstances of the learning a meaning that has no necessary connection at all, wi It is very interesting to know that according to Cyril O. Houle, there are 3 types of adult learners: 1. The goal-Oriented learners Who normally have fairly clear cut objectives, their continuing education happen in episodes, don't have even, steady or continuous flow of the learning. they basically satisfy the need to learn by taking a course 2. The Activity-Oriented learners Who take part because they find in the circumstances of the learning a meaning that has no necessary connection at all, with the content or the announced purpose of the activity. They start their education when the need for the subject becomes sufficiently pressing. It is the social context and the human relationship and interaction they sough after that the course might yield. 3. The Learning-oriented learners who seek knowledge for its own sake. They are engrossed in learning as long as they can remember.They are avid readers and always have been. They join groups, classed and educational institutions for educational purposes. They make choices whether for jobs, travels or simply watching a Tv program based on the educational benefit they may get.

  19. 4 out of 5

    mtimesj

    There were a number of very important advice and ideas in this book that ultimately made me super happy that I ended up reading it. However, there is a whole load of the book that is about 'theories' and sometimes the text reads more like laundry lists of other peoples ideas than actually telling you much about their meaning, context or generally how these theories educate us on adult learning. As a scientists, I see the importance of considering theories from various people in determining the e There were a number of very important advice and ideas in this book that ultimately made me super happy that I ended up reading it. However, there is a whole load of the book that is about 'theories' and sometimes the text reads more like laundry lists of other peoples ideas than actually telling you much about their meaning, context or generally how these theories educate us on adult learning. As a scientists, I see the importance of considering theories from various people in determining the educational process. However, they were misplaced in this book and made reading many parts quite tedious. Overall, I think that a dissemination of the core facts from this book can probably be more useful, but the essence remains: well worth reading.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Florian Valente

    This book gives a very strong overview of what adult learning is, and how it differs from formal education / pedadogy. It looks at things from a scientific perspective without being boring or complex, yet it makes no unfounded statements. I find this a welcome change from many other books. Most of all I want to recommend this book for the philosophy of adult learning it stands for. Why not 5/5? Because it could just be a bit more practical, however every practitioner, no matter if novice or expe This book gives a very strong overview of what adult learning is, and how it differs from formal education / pedadogy. It looks at things from a scientific perspective without being boring or complex, yet it makes no unfounded statements. I find this a welcome change from many other books. Most of all I want to recommend this book for the philosophy of adult learning it stands for. Why not 5/5? Because it could just be a bit more practical, however every practitioner, no matter if novice or expert, will be able to draw plenty from it.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jeff Lampson

    A must read for anyone working in or interested in human resource and adult development. This is the sixth edition and updated from Malcolm Knowles original. A fantastic one stop review of all the adult learning theories and useful applications for facilitators of learning. The bibliography is fantastic and provides a useful roadmap for creating your own agenda for adult learning.

  22. 4 out of 5

    R

    Good treatise on the history of andragogy. I'll admit I glazed over some of the academic history. Reading for work purposes, but has use for practitioners as well. Probably there more concise works for those seeking specific improvements. Good treatise on the history of andragogy. I'll admit I glazed over some of the academic history. Reading for work purposes, but has use for practitioners as well. Probably there more concise works for those seeking specific improvements.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Becky

    Read for back ground on Andragogy and to get basic theory on adult learning for development of training. The beginning was interesting - later chapters seemed to be slapped on, also there were errors in chapter references because of the addition of new material.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jon Port

    Don't make training like a 1st grade class, or even high school class. Remember, some people drop out of high school because they hate it (others just endure it...) Be a "guide on the side" instead of the "sage on the stage." Don't make training like a 1st grade class, or even high school class. Remember, some people drop out of high school because they hate it (others just endure it...) Be a "guide on the side" instead of the "sage on the stage."

  25. 5 out of 5

    Mark Weiss

    Top notch. Great ideas, makes you think. Reveals the truth about education and what makes it work.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl

    Well laid out, easy to understand.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Nicolle

    It is so difficult to read textbooks!!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Christine

    A very thorough discussion of the principles of andragogy (the teaching and learning of adults).

  29. 4 out of 5

    Amy Cordero

    Bought the Kindle version and it's format is terrible. The Book is alright, but pretty dry. Bought the Kindle version and it's format is terrible. The Book is alright, but pretty dry.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Libor

    Very good and very practical. I would just welcome better editing, so we don't have to see the word "contemporary" when speaking/writing about something from the 70's in an edition from 2000's. Very good and very practical. I would just welcome better editing, so we don't have to see the word "contemporary" when speaking/writing about something from the 70's in an edition from 2000's.

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