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The learning theories

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Which among the learning theories provided you with new information? How would you apply this in your practice? Learning and teaching go hand in hand. As nurses in health care, while taking care of adults, there is lot of education and teaching that happens in the hospital and teaching is performed among patients, among fellow nurses and other health care workers and introduction of new equipment or procedure. This was a good exercise as there was opportunity to learn more about learning theories and to receive new information. Adult learning theories can be applicable for students in nursing school as there are lot of people who choose nursing as their secondary profession or when they are in graduate school. Malcolm Knowles (1913-1997) was a very significant person in the field of adult education. He was a supporter of Andragogy which is concerned with adult learning. . In early 1970s, When Knowles introduced this theory; Knowles was convinced adults learned differently from children.

Knowles Assumptions of Adult Learners

1.Need to know-Adults need to know the reason or need to know the facts at the time, they need to learn something. 2.Self- concept-As people mature, their concept moves from one of being dependent toward one of being self-directed. A self-directing teacher avoids talking down to the learner, provides information that improves the adult’s ability to solve problems and encourages independence. 3.Experience-adults learn better when their own experiences are incorporated into the learning process. Establishing learning activities around life experiences accelerates the learning process. When adults have different learning experiences, they learn better, for example when talking about coronary arteries, it makes great sense for a plumber or a mechanic and understands about clogging. Adults who have done volunteering with students or in different countries can bring back their experiences when they study a problem. 4.Readiness to learn-Real life problems or situations create a readiness to learn in the adult. Adults are problem orientation learners, as opposed to subject oriented. Adults may have different roles in life as sometimes when they face a problem, they adapt to learning.

5.Orientation to learning-As a person matures, his or her perspective changes from one of postponed application of knowledge to immediacy of application. 6.Motivation-is the cornerstone of the adult larning theories, some motivation forces such as desire for better job, more job satisfaction for example, eagerness to perform better to control blood sugars for diabetics. According to (Kelly, 2013), incorporating collaborative service learning for adult students is very helpful for adult learning .Collaborative service learning can be incorporated to higher education and can also go beyond classrooms for example students who are in college mathematics class benefit from helping junior kids in high school classrooms.

This is very applicable when students , who are in nursing school come and work as patient care technicians in hospital and they benefit from real life experiences and see how nurses interact and they can incorporate importance of maintaining accurate intake and output and in cardiac and post-surgical patients they see how patients benefit from checking daily weight at home .Going beyond the four walls of classroom can also motivate adult learners ,students who work also learn to balance work and life ,they also are better role models and they are able to relate more to the theory and apply to practice .Self-directed learning also is helping adult learners and can help nursing students to learn and explore on their own .Adult learners expect them to be treated as adults and generally want to take an active part in learning .


Kelly, M. J (2013, April). Beyond Classroom Borders: Incorporating service learning for the adult student, Official journal of the American Association for Adult and Continuing education. Adult learning, pages 82-84. http://dx.doi.org/10.11177/1045159513477844 McEwen, M., & Wills, E. (2014). 3. In Theoretical Basis for nursing (4th ed.). Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer/Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.

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