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The Adult Learner: The Definitive Classic in Adult Education and Human Resource Development
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The Adult Learner: The Definitive Classic in Adult Education and Human Resource Development

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  232 Ratings  ·  22 Reviews
This much acclaimed text has been fully updated to incorporate the latest advances in the field. As leading authorities on adult education and training, Elwood Holton and Dick Swanson have revised this edition building on the work of the late Malcolm Knolwes. Keeping to the practical format of the last edition, this book is divided into three parts. The first part contains ...more
Paperback, 390 pages
Published February 8th 2005 by Butterworth-Heinemann (first published September 1981)
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Paul Signorelli
Oct 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
Reading the sixth edition of "The Adult Learner" reminds us why the book justifiably carries the subtitle "The Definitive Classic in Adult Education and Human Resource Development"--and why a seventh edition is also available. It's thoughtful. It's thorough. It's engaging. It acknowledges its limitations. It surveys a variety of other seminal learning texts produced over a period of several decades and leaves us with nearly 40 pages of additional resources to explore. And, most importantly, it r ...more
Edward O'Neill
Jun 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing

Adults need to shape and control their own learning. They need help doing it.

Adults do not need someone pushing content at them until their minds fill up like a cup.

Knowles gives a clear overview of what is at once a philosophical orientation and an evidence-based pedagogical approach.

A must-read for adults who care about learning.
Jul 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: doctoral-studies
A classic.
Earl Grey Tea
Sep 23, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
This book wasn't written for people who want to get better in educating adult learners. It was written for other academics. This book is worthy of two stars - it was okay - only because I was able to learn a few things that could help me in my classrooms for corporate training. A handful of chapters in the middle of the book and a couple at the end had the most relevant and accessible information for people who are actual educators like myself.

For the rest of the book, most of it was filled with
Brendan Howard
Mar 29, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: education, unfinished
I can't. Too dense, too scattered and uninspired in its organization. I understand why it's important to theory in androgogy ... but that's about it. And pointed me to some other writers!
Jan 16, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Audience: anyone involved with adult learning, researchers, students in education, or human resource development.

Overview: a comprehensively updated view of the original "Adult learner" by Knowles in 5 parts. It starts by providing a snapshot of the six principles of andragogy with full details in the subsequent chapters. Also, it describes the evolution of adult education and development of andragogy. As well as the andragogical process model elements with providing practical case examples. Ho
Jul 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
It is very interesting to know that according to Cyril O. Houle, there are 3 types of adult learners:
1. The goal-Oriented learners Who normally have fairly clear cut objectives, their continuing education happen in episodes, don't have even, steady or continuous flow of the learning. they basically satisfy the need to learn by taking a course

2. The Activity-Oriented learners Who take part because they find in the circumstances of the learning a meaning that has no necessary connection at all, wi
Jeff Lampson
A must read for anyone working in or interested in human resource and adult development. This is the sixth edition and updated from Malcolm Knowles original. A fantastic one stop review of all the adult learning theories and useful applications for facilitators of learning. The bibliography is fantastic and provides a useful roadmap for creating your own agenda for adult learning.
Jul 07, 2009 rated it liked it
Good treatise on the history of andragogy. I'll admit I glazed over some of the academic history. Reading for work purposes, but has use for practitioners as well. Probably there more concise works for those seeking specific improvements.
Jun 05, 2011 rated it liked it
Read for back ground on Andragogy and to get basic theory on adult learning for development of training. The beginning was interesting - later chapters seemed to be slapped on, also there were errors in chapter references because of the addition of new material.
Jon Port
Don't make training like a 1st grade class, or even high school class. Remember, some people drop out of high school because they hate it (others just endure it...) Be a "guide on the side" instead of the "sage on the stage."
Mark Weiss
Top notch. Great ideas, makes you think. Reveals the truth about education and what makes it work.
Mar 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
A very thorough discussion of the principles of andragogy (the teaching and learning of adults).
Jan 12, 2011 rated it it was ok
It is so difficult to read textbooks!!
Feb 24, 2014 rated it liked it
Very good and very practical. I would just welcome better editing, so we don't have to see the word "contemporary" when speaking/writing about something from the 70's in an edition from 2000's.
Catie Carlson
Good: Easy to read; lots of great information
Bad: Sometimes overly ambitious only hitting the surface level of major aspects such as teaching and learning theories
Sep 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015, phd
Clear and straight forward introduction and discussion concerning Adult Education and andragogical theory.
Amy Cordero
Bought the Kindle version and it's format is terrible. The Book is alright, but pretty dry.
Nov 08, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: text-books
Well laid out, easy to understand.
Juanita Stone
Interesting book but somewhat wordy and not real clear in some areas.
Caroline Philippone
Wonderful resource for educators working with adults. I originally rented this textbook, due to the price, but will be buying it. Invaluable resource!
James Coats
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Sep 10, 2016
rated it it was amazing
Jan 07, 2018
Joseph Scott
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May 26, 2015
rated it it was amazing
Mar 15, 2013
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Apr 17, 2014
Ruth Neese
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Dec 22, 2017
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