Cognitive Development Theories, Adult Learning Theory In Nursing Education

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Cognitive Development Theories In Nursing Education and Adult Learning Theory

Cognitive Development Theories, Adult Learning Theory In Nursing Education


Cognitive Development Theories In Nursing Education, Adult Learning Theory In Nursing Education, Premise of Adult Learning Theory In Nursing Education, Implications Adult Learning Theory for Nurse Educators.

Cognitive Development Theories In Nursing Education

    Cognitive development theories focus on the sequential development of learning over time. These theorists believe that learning depends on student's maturation, experiences in the real world, and time. 

    Three cognitive development theories of interest to nurse educators are Knowles' (1980) adult learning theory, Perry's (1970) theory of intellectual and moral development and Benner's (1984) theory of learning from novice to expert.

Adult Learning Theory In Nursing Education

    According to Malcom Knowles (1980), adults learn in ways that are different from children. He used the term andragogy to refer to the education of adults, in contrast to pedagogy, the term used for the education of children. Knowles described adult learners as persons who do best when asked to use their experience and apply new knowledge to solve real life problems. 

    Adult learners' motivation to learn is more pragmatic and problem focused than that of younger learners. Adults are more likely to learn if they view the information as personally relevant and important (Mitchell & Courtney, 2005; Peterson, 2005). The basic assumptions about adult learners are that they are increasingly self-directed and have experiences that serve as a rich resource for their own and others' learning. 

    Their readiness to learn develops from life tasks and problems, and their orientation to learning is task centered or problem centered. The following five additional characteristics of adult learners have been described by Jackson and Caffarella (1994): 

1. Adults have more and different types of life experiences that are organized differently from those of children. 

2. Adults have preferred differences in personal learning style. 

3. Adults are more likely to prefer being actively involved in the learning process. 

4. Adults desire to be connected to and supportive of each other in the learning process. 

5. Adults have individual responsibilities and life situations that provide a social context that affects their learning. 

    The learning behaviors of adults are shaped by past experiences; Their maturity and life experiences provide them with insights and the ability to see relationships. Adults are not content centered; adults are self-directed and motivation to learn is internal (Goddu, 2012). They are problem centered, and need and want to learn useful information that can be readily adapted. Adults need a climate that enables them to assume responsibility for their learning.

Premise of Adult Learning Theory In Nursing Education 

    The basic assumptions about adult learners are that they are increasingly self directed and have experiences that serve as a rich resource for their own and others' learning. Their readiness to learn develops from life tasks and problems, and their orientation to learning is task centered or problem centered.

Implications Adult Learning Theory for Nurse Educators

  Because adults fear failure, faculty must create a relaxed, psychologically safe environment, while developing a climate of trust and mutual respect that will facilitate student empowerment. Faculty facilitate, guide, or coach adult learners. 

    Although faculty assume responsibility for being the content expert, a collaborative relationship and use of the democratic process are essential with adult learners. Faculty can design meaningful learning activities so that learning transfer becomes a reality. Learning activities should stimulate and encourage reflection on past and current experiences and be sequenced according to the learners' needs. 

    Faculty attend to adult learners' needs and concerns as legitimate and important components of the learning process; this helps ensure that their learning experiences are maximized. Course materials and learning experiences are sequenced according to learner readiness. 

    Learning plans are actually learning contracts established with learners. Learning contracts are often used with adult learners in formal academic classrooms and staff development. Contracts are developed collaboratively and should specify the knowledge, skills, and attitudes that students will acquire; the means by which students will attain the objectives; the criteria and evidence by which they will be judged; and the date for completion of the work (Knowles, 1980). 

    Learning activities should include independent study and inquiry projects that focus on inquiry and experiential techniques (Caffarella & Barnett, 1994). Field-based experiences such as internships and practicum assignments provide experiential learning. 

    Reflective journals, critical incidents, and portfolios are other types of activities that allow adult learners to introduce their past and current experiences into the content of the learning events. These activities also help learners make sense of their life experiences, providing added incentive to learn (Caffarella & Barnett, 1994). 

    Evaluation is shared with the students and peers; Students should have some options for selecting the methods of evaluation. The use of adult learning principles actively engages students and stimulates the use of a broader variety of resources as students work collaboratively with others to achieve their personal learning objectives. 

    Identifies the teaching and learning principles associated with Knowles' adult learning model (Knowles, Holton, & Swanson, 2005). Students must be able, with support from faculty and peers, to determine their own learning needs and work collaboratively in negotiating their learning experiences. Self directedness and the ability to pace learning and monitor progress toward completion of goals are essential attributes of adult learners.

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