Adults have distinct characteristics that make them unique. Historically, adults are defined as individuals who have characteristics of maturity and responsibility (Pitti, 2017). These traits make adults unique, allowing them to have complete autonomy in decisions and be held responsible for their actions. This characteristic enables an adult to make decisions without interference. Philosophical perception of adults in adult learning theories considers them unique, continuously learning through life experiences that guide their learning experience (Kapur, 2019). Therefore, an adult is unique in their ability to influence their lives directly as mature and responsible members of society.
In philosophical research, it is important to distinguish between adults and K-12 students in their capabilities as learners, thinkers, or students. Adults are autonomous, allowing them to voluntarily engage in learning, differentiating them from K-12 students who oblige to mandate. Adult learners’ goals and objectives significantly reflect their life experiences through their education (Kara et al., 2019. Consequently, adult learners’ are pragmatic and problem-centered as they seek practical solutions to issues in their environment and social backgrounds (Amponsah, 2020). A general observation is that adult learners are critical in their thinking, focusing on competency and experience-based learning.
Adult learners are distinct as a group that requires to be handled specially. The diverse nature of adult learners influenced by sociocultural and economic environment invokes their concerns on how their needs can be separated and satisfied. According to Lee et al. (2019), adult learners struggle with distance learning programs. Limitations such as transportation, old age, disabilities, and financial constraints may hinder maintaining the consistency of enrollment and attendance. These factors inconvenience learners and impede registration and participation in adult learning programs.
According to Lee et al. (2019), the limitations of their daily lives and social activities become a problem for adult learners accessing learning programs, especially for online distance learning, as adult learners are unfamiliar with technological-based programs. The global community has rapidly been exposed to technological advancements in the digital age (Bode & Gold, 2018). As a result, adult learners express concern about the inadequacy of training on technology as education transitions to the use of digital devices and platforms.
Adult education is a new practice that is important in a global society. Primarily, adult learning is essential for community and capacity building for the adult groups in the community. Subsequently, Kapur (2019) argues that adult learning allows adults to apply and augment their understanding of their life experiences. In addition, adult learning enables learners to adapt to their environments as their thinking and skills evolve with continued interaction and experience (Amponsah, 2020). Arguably, adult education is an essential factor that enhances transformative growth in human development as adults are equipped with skills and aptitude to adjust to dynamic changes (Kapur, 2019). These factors allow adults to unlock their potential and positively change their environments. Conclusively, adults can adapt to changing economic and social factors predisposed to technological advancement through adult learning.
As the world experience an increase in recognition of adult learning, gaps exist in the philosophical consideration of adult learning. The philosophical perspective of adult education significantly influences communities and societies. However, there exists a hole in the conceptualization and implementation of adult learning. The limitation of diversity is a rare subject that is underresearched as cultures vary from different areas. What recommendations and theories are there to categorize the type of grouping and educating techniques necessary to accommodate adult learners’ diverse and dynamic nature? Their needs vary based on socio-cultural, economic, and demographic factors, which calls for a standard framework to manage the circumstances and serve as a tool to develop the global society.
Amponsah, S. (2020). Exploring the dominant learning styles of adult learners in higher education. SpringerLink. Web.
Bode, E., & Gold, R. (2018). Adult training in the digital age. Economics, 12(1). Web.
Kapur, R. (2019). Introduction to Adult Education. ResearchGate. Web.
Kara, M., Erdoğdu, F., Kokoç, M., & Cagiltay, K. (2019). Challenges Faced by Adult Learners in Online Distance Education: A Literature Review. Open Praxis, 11(1), 5. Web.
Lee, K., Choi, H., & Cho, Y. H. (2019). Becoming a competent self: A developmental process of adult distance learning. The Internet and Higher Education, 41, 25–33. Web.
Pitti, I. (2017). What does being an adult mean? Comparing young people’s and adults’ representations of adulthood. Journal of Youth Studies, 20(9), 1225–1241. Web.