Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Adult Education, Training and Development: Principles, Cultural, Social and Learning Differences and Issues

LEVEL 01 - Year 1 in Modular Undergraduate Course


DEPARTMENT Arts, Open Communities and Adult Education

DESCRIPTION This study-unit is intended to foster a holistic and ‘social justice’ approach to adult education based on a valorisation of difference. The concept of difference is viewed in both its social and environmental dimensions. In terms of the social dimension of difference, or simply, ‘social difference’, the unit will raise such issues as: who benefits from current adult educational provision and who is being excluded? Which particular cultures are being valorised and which cultures are marginalised?

What effects do the dominant discourses, in adult education, have on the shaping of adult learners’ identities? Which particular social standpoints are to be taken on board if one is to help provide a genuinely democratic and inclusive adult education process? These questions are important if one is to educate for greater social justice and for the creation of a world not as it is but as it should and can be. It will be argued, however, that if we are to educate for a better world, our concerns should include an appreciation and valorization of a broader sense of difference, namely biodiversity. Any attempt to educate for change should focus not only on social relations, crucial though these may be, but also on the wider and more holistic domain of human-earth relations. The issues of Social Class, Biodiversity, Ability, Gender and Ethnicity (especially with regard to Migration in the context of globalization), as well as Social Movements (that provide an important context for adult learning within the context of affirming difference) are given great importance in this unit. This unit will also give participants the opportunity to learn about their learning preferences and explore how such knowledge of the learning self can better equip them to become more efficient meditators of learning.

Study-Unit Aims:

This study-unit seeks to foster in participants a holistic understanding of difference and help them reflect on how such understanding impinges on adult learning. It also seeks to foster a greater understanding of social relations and how such relations should include human-earth relations.

This study-unit also aims to help participants recognise that different adults bring different strengths and needs with them, bring different knowledge traditions and finally help them recognise that the identities of adult learning are not fixed but have changed and will continue to change through time.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- Outline the different challenges posed by different adult learners;
- Describe how different forms of learning and their purposes have ramifications for the environment;
- Review theories and narratives around these identity issues;
- Recognize a holistic approach to difference - social and in terms of biodiversity;
- Discuss some of the debates around women, social class, age, race/ethnicity, ability/disability, sexual orientation and adult education and training;
- Describe how one’s learning preferences impinge on relational sustenance between individuals; and
- Relate one’s learning profile to one’s actions.

2. Skills:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- Demonstrate a good grasp of the terminology involved when discussing difference;
- Apply different methodologies when writing about specific identity and issues of difference;
- Illustrate relevance of some basic forms of differentiated teaching;
- Employ non-androcentric, non-anthropocentric, non-ageist, non-heteronormative, non-ethnocentric, non-racist and non-disablist language;
- Employ decoding strategies to analyze tasks using one’s knowledge of learning patterns; and
- Apply appropriate strategies to support learners’ learning preference.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

Main Texts:

- English L. & Mayo P. (2012). Learning with Adults. A Critical Pedagogical Introduction, Rotterdam & Taipei: Sense Publishers
- Johnston, A. C. (2010). Finding Your Way: Navigating Life by Understanding Your Learning Self. Createspace Independent Publishing.

Supplementary Readings:

- English, L. (Ed.). (2005). International Encyclopedia of Adult Education. New York, Houndmills, Basingstoke and Hampshire: Palgave-Macmillan.
- Mayo, P. (Ed.). (2013). Learning with Adults A Reader. Rotterdam, Boston and Taipei: Sense Publishers.
- Peterson, P., Baker, E. & McGraw, B. (Eds.). (2010). International Encyclopedia of Education (3rd edition). Amsterdam: Elsevier. (See section on Adult Continuing Education edited by Rubenson, Kjell).
- Calleja, C. & Johnston, A.C. (2015). A Learning Paradigm Informed by Knowledge of the Learning Self: A Compendium of Applied Research on the Let Me Learn Process. Horizons & Forum on Learning Publication.


Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Assignment SEM1 Yes 100%


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It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2020/1. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.