Cognitive Dissonance is the conflict of ideas, beliefs or expectations. One of the issues with adult learning is how educators or Instructional Designers create a learning environment that is positive and effective in an adult learning environment. We know that there are a number of ways in which individuals learn.
Kinesthetic, auditory, visual learning have always been the industry accepted ways in which individuals process new information. And while the education industry has attempted to better define those learning styles, we are still stuck with one question, how do you teach adults who bring with them their own forms of ideas, beliefs and expectations?
- Adults need to be involved in the planning and evaluation of their instruction.
- Experience (including mistakes) provides the basis for the learning activities.
- Adults are most interested in learning subjects that have immediate relevance and impact to their job or personal life.
- Adult learning is problem-centered rather than content-oriented. (Kearsley, 2010)
As an adult learner, currently both in an environment where I am a student and an educator, I can see the utility and logic in a program like this. Although an experiential learning model won't work in all environments, nor with all learners, I think the silent majority of adults who experience this form of teaching will find that they are able to leave their cognitive dissonance at the door to the classroom and open their minds to the possibilities that there might be other forms of learning on the horizon.
- Knowles, M. (1984). Andragogy in Action. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
- Kearsley, G. (2010). Andragogy (M.Knowles). The theory Into practice database. Retrieved from http://tip.psychology.org