Learning in Adulthood: A Comprehensive Guide 3rd Edition

66 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0787975883
ISBN-10: 0787975885
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"An essential volume in adult education." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"For this third edition of Learning in Adulthood we have paid particular attention to work published since the last edition of the book. This third edition of Learning in Adulthood builds on material in the 1999 edition, bringing together the important contributions of the past decade to our understanding of adult learning. While we have preserved important foundational material (such as a discussion of andragogy), we have also brought to bear the most recent thinking and research. We have strived to put together a comprehensive overview and synthesis of what we know about adult learning: the context in which it takes place, who the participants are, what they learn and why, the nature of the learning process itself, new approaches to adult learning, the development of theory in adult learning, and other issues relevant to understanding adult learning."
—From the Preface

Previous praise for Learning in Adulthood

"An essential volume in adult education."
—Choice

"This book is extremely useful in that it provides an informed overview of issues related to adult learning. It is very readable, yet packs considerable challenge for the more experienced adult educator."
—Canadian Journal of University Continuing Education

"Learning in Adulthood's greatest strengths are its coverage of the learning context, theory-building within adult learning, and how social and ethical issues offer special challenges to adult learning. It will be useful to both experienced and novice continuing educators, as well as laypersons."
—Continuing Higher Education Review

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 3 edition (October 27, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0787975885
  • ISBN-13: 978-0787975883
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.8 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #38,299 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Sagechic on October 31, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a textbook designed to give an overview to adult learning theory, these authors interlace blatant personal, loaded biases with valuable, factual, and well-substantiated information.

As a socially liberal individual, I presume to share many of the ideals that shine through the book; however, I am disgusted by these authors' abuse of their publication. To write such politically-charged examples into a supposedly factual text is repugnant. I could hardly read through a page in the first few chapters without becoming distressed by the lack of even an attempt at neutrality.

Putting the shoe on the other foot, if a team of socially conservative authors laced their supposedly "introductory" text with blatant and intolerant views in support of their agenda, the academic community would cry out in horror and debunk the scholarly value of such a work...regardless of how much scholarly validity there might be.

Because this book takes a liberal (verging on extreme left) viewpoint, many readers seem to uncritically accept this violation of the covenant between textbook and audience: if you're writing an editorial, feel free to do so, just don't couch your beliefs in a text that will be used as a broad introduction to an important, relevant field. What I find especially pernicious is that the authors specifically cite outside sources that seem to validate and legitimize the appropriateness of this bias to the actual factual material (as in the case of the formal curriculum (math)/informal curriculum (homophobia) example on pp. 37-38). This is tantamount to saying that fundamental to the field of adult learning is a requisite liberal social bias (see also the example of anti-corporate groups pg. 39, oppressed factory workers pp. 171, among others).
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26 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Larson on September 23, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Merriam's spirituality section reads right off of a new age sale rack. "Grace lurks among the vegetables in the supermarket. Grace sits on a bar stool and smokes a cigarette". It just doesn't get any more absurd than quoting research like that.
It's stocked with disdain for traditional learning and loaded with bias and garbage like the above. Yuck. She spends more time tearing apart theories that don't jive with her agenda than going over new thought. Rotten book.
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22 of 27 people found the following review helpful By D. Norman on April 30, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This is one of the most poorly written texts covering adult learning theory. The author has picked a selection of different theories but only gives a short introduction to each - leaving many questions and concerns after reading each chapter.

The information given on educational theorists is horribly fragmented. In many chapters there is no context, history or biography of the theorists given. If you'd like fragmented information on learning theories - this is the book.

If you'd like comprehensive information on learning theories-this is not the right book. The information has to be supplemented with a lot of hard work researching details from the internet or other educational texts.

This was a required text for a graduate level course in adult education and it was a waste of money.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By P. Risher on December 14, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Learning in Adulthood is one of those "classic" text/reference books i.e., the kind that you actually read and return to time and again. I am particularly taken by the way the authors summarize the major thinking in the various content areas. They extract the key thoughts of hundreds of research works, compare and contrast, synthesize. They are careful to present dissenting views. Most of their references are recent. I also like the fact that their own voices are heard and they are strong, experienced voices. This is an ideal source book for graduate students that are writing or will be writing a thesis or dissertation.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Critical Grad on February 28, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This was the assigned text for one of my graduate-level classes, Adult Learning Theory and Strategy with the University of Denver.

What this book did well:
As a textbook, it introduces a wide range of theories related to adult learning and development. They are not limited to classical theories, but also presents some modern theories still in development. As such, I considered it fairly comprehensive. The book itself reads quite well and is pretty smooth.

What this book lacked:
I was disappointed in how poorly some of the theory descriptions were written and explained. At times, they felt a bit rushed (see Gardner's Multiple Intelligence).

For a book on adult learning, I do not feel they kept their audiences in mind very well. The entire book is line after line of text with no changes in the way material is presented. There are no graphs, organizers, or any visual element which might enhance the learning of those of us who are visual people. I do not want this to sound like a "no pictures" rant, but seriously...

Finally, a solid reference section could work very well at the back of the book, such as a chart of those mentioned and their theories or a chart of the major adult learning theories. This could be more useful than scouring the text for random names.

Final thoughts:

Not terrible and it serves its purpose, but I would recommend searching for other options before landing on this one. Learning does not have to be a painful experience.
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