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The Adult Learner, Fifth Edition: The Definitive Classic in Adult Education and Human Resource Development (Managing Cultural Differences) 5th Edition

3.7 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0884151159
ISBN-10: 0884151158
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A classic in the field of adult learning."
-Michael Marquardt, George Washington University

Book Description

New edition of a great classic in the field. This text has been fully-revised incorporating the latest advancements in adult-learning. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: Managing Cultural Differences
  • Paperback: 310 pages
  • Publisher: Gulf Professional Publishing; 5 edition (August 20, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0884151158
  • ISBN-13: 978-0884151159
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,217,056 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
For those new to Knowles work, this book really is a 'must'. It takes the reader through the essentials of adult education, both in the traditional environments of adult education and in settings such as the workplace. It provides a theoretical framework for understanding the adult learning issues faced by professional educators each day, and also offers significant guidance on future practice. To those who have read past editions of the book, as I have, you will find the Swanson and Holton work true to the spirit of Knowles, and the two authors have introduced more than enough new material to justify buying this Fifth Edition.
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This book is like a one-stop shopping guide to Adult education. It is so comprehensive that I doubt it leaves out one development in the history of adult education. My only warning is that the opening chapters which basically trace many theories of learning (both adult and traditional) are hard to get through -- it reads more like a research paper that summarizes every major educational theory since the beginning of time. But, if you don't want to know that much, you can simply skip these chapters and get right to the meat of the adult learning theories which are more appropos. For those who need a quick primer on learning theories, you'll love the first few chapters for their abundance of quick summary information. A useful guide to adult education.
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Format: Paperback
Malcolm Knowles is known as the "Grandfather of Adult Education" in many circles, and this update of his original book does him justice. I recommend the book as a primary resource for people looking for information about how adults learn (adult learning theory), as well as what works and how to make it work in different situations.
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Format: Paperback
Malcolm S. Knowles is the founder of the theory of Andragogy (Adult Education), and I agree with him on many of the points he makes.

The problem is that the book seems to have been written for academics to accept Malcolm's theories, and not written for students who wanted to learn to be better teachers in Adult Education.

Unless you have to use this book for a textbook for a class, I would not buy it as your first introduction to Adult Education. I'm not sure which book I would buy, but someone must have written a better one to actually learn the subject!
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A little background: I am not a college professor or corporate HR director, so to some degree there are things in this book that were lost on me for that reason, HOWEVER...

I have worked in the past as an instructor for adult learners (in corporate and other environments), and earned a degree in Journalism, so I do know something about good writing hopefully. I purchased this book to gain insight into the motivations behind adult learners. Why do some go back to college even when their job does not require it? What motivates them? How do they learn compared to teenagers, etc? What techniques are best in a classroom full of adults? And FWIW I have been able to glean some useful bits of information in these respects. But this book could be so much more, if the authors would simplify the writing style. Get out of your own way and tell the story! Let me explain further...

My biggest problem with this book is that it reads like a college thesis. I always value and appreciate a well annotated work that references other respected works, however this book goes completely overboard. In some chapters, almost every page is a pulled quotation from another work or book. There are so many references as to be distracting to the reader IMO. The original point being discussed (and its relevance to the person teaching adults), is often lost and you have to go back and read again so you haven't wasted your time.

The information itself is sometimes helpful and enlightening, but buried among wordy descriptions, run-on sentences and frankly, verbal pomp.
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Format: Paperback
So, I'm writing a paper on Adult Learning. Basic definitions abound in this book. Excellent beginning book, but not very exciting. I bought it to use as a main reference book. Unfortunately, all the references are older than 10 years ago, and where's the research?? I want to love Andragogy, but the two current authors are not doing anything to perpetuate it. The latest theory definitions are not included in relation to Andragogy either. How about transformational theory, critical pedagogy, adult learning theory, and any others that are around? I contacted one of the authors by phone, but he never responded to my voicemail.
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Every time I pick up this gem to read a chapter for my Adult Education class, I dread it. It is a very tough read for me, and is so dull. The concepts in it are important, but it could have been written much differently. I would suggest a different text if possible.
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Purchased for a university class, this is the classic on the subject. Malcolm Knowles is known specifically for his work and knowledge on the adult learner. I can't imagine getting a degree in adult education without having read this book.
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