Adult Learning Theory Critique Essay

Adult learning theory focuses on educating adults in a style that best relates to the life and experiences. Adults and children learn in different ways. It has been found that children learn because they have to, while adults learn for reasons usually based on self motivated factors or androgogy (Holt, 2011). “Teaching that transforms: Facilitating life change through adult Bible teaching” by Richard A. Holt (2011), it is stated that it is necessary to bring both concepts of the Bible teaching and contemporary adult learning theories together for the most effectiveness. In the Holt article; it is shown that Biblical explanation and interpretation assist the adult learner in gaining knowledge. The choices one makes gives real world perspective and power can only be obtained by the Holy Spirit. The article discusses the styles in which adult learning makes a difference, whether androgogy, transformative learning or self-directed learning (Holt). Adult Learning Theory for the Twenty-First Century” discusses the goals of educators to better prepare themselves to better deal with adult learners. Over the last 15 years, learning theories have changed very aggressively (Merriam, 2008). As adults continue to develop human physiology changes, thus learning teaching styles have to change to keep up. It has been recognized that with time everything that adults experience is part of the learning process. It has been further recognized that educators have to increase their tool set to involve creative and artistic modes of teaching to reach a wider audience.

Both articles cover the ever-changing dynamics of the human psyche and educational styles and requirements in dealing with adult learning. Educators have to continue to increase knowledge both for themselves as well as those whom they are educating. Where the styles of the teaching process in the Holt (2011) article differ from the Merriam (2008) article, they both recognize the changes in adult learners. It has been recognized over years and will continue for years to come that educators of adults will have to continue honing their skill sets to accommodate the learning styles of adults.

Since adults learn differently from children it is important to include the learning styles necessary to maximize the efforts of educators. As adults learning styles change it will be necessary for those educating adults to change also. Reflection After reading both articles and realizing the application in my own life and learning style, I conclude that adults learn differently. There were moments of complete frustration as I was putting my thoughts together as I can tend to be somewhat of a perfectionist. I had the realization that time management and organizational skills are imperative when completing an assignment of any type.

The Holt (2011) article caught my attention initially because of how I tend to study and read the Bible in particular. I am coming to understand more and more how I learn and further realize that the concepts of knowledge, choice and power are applicable in my own life. I am intrigued by the concept mentioned in the Holt article and will consider its application to my current Bible study methods. The Merriam (2008) article is interesting in the fact that I had no idea how challenging it is for educators to keep up with the learning curve that is necessary to continue teaching the increasing number of adult learners.

Being out of the college environment for so long, I realize it is not as easy to just get things done with all of the demands of life as I know it. I can see how both articles and their teaching styles have a positive impact on dealing with adult learning. With all of the influences of culture, music, art, etc, it is imperative that educators find a way to keep up with the demands of educating the population of adults returning to increase their knowledge to keep up with fast paced American culture. I now have a new respect for teachers on all levels. It is interesting that adult educator’s find is so necessary to effectively reach adults.

It is increasingly more common for adults to return to school for a number of reasons, and are driven to succeed for just as many reasons. Thankfully educators realize the change necessary to comprehend the goals of those adults striving for successes related to educating themselves.


  1. Holt, R. A. (2011). Teaching that transforms: Facilitating life change through adult Bible teaching. Christian Education Journal, 8(2), 450+ Merriam, S. B. (2008).
  2. Adult learning theory for the twenty-first century. New Directions For Adult And Continuing Education, Volume 2008, Issue 119, 93-98. DOI: 10. 1002/ace. 309

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