Factors Motivating Adult Learners

Essay by ridserUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, August 2004

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Factors MotivatingAdult Learners

Adult learners have different needs and motivations than students starting their education for the first time. Adult learners look for ways to grow within their careers, and for the new career opportunities that education may provide. This drive may stem from financial needs, or a desire to present an example to their family. Families fulfill a role key to the success of the adult learner. In balancing all of the aspects of their lives, adult learners may look to their family as a source of inspiration or motivation. The adult learner may return to school as part of a drive to better not just themselves, but the life of their family as well. Adult learners, also require relevance in the knowledge they seek. Adult learners seek to incorporate their past experience with new knowledge. Increased self-esteem is both a motivating factor and a result of continued education with adults.

We see a feedback loop between the realization that they are capable of learning, and the momentum built as the learning adult starts down the educational path. The adult learner is less likely to just accept what they are being taught, instead they must experience and take an active role in their education. For this reason, traditional teaching methods are less effective with learning adults. There are many factors that motivate the learning adult to not only start, but to continue their education into the future.

There are many motivations for pursuing a career. Family is one of the major motivations in pursuing a career, being motivated by family traditionally following or fulfilling the express wishes of a parent or other close relative. The world "motivation" is used to describe a drive, need or desire to so something (Slavin 1994). Others choose a career to generate substantial...