ED554 Adult Education Learning Theory

for S1P 2011

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Mission Statement: The mission of the School of Graduate and Professional Studies at Park University is to provide leadership and directions to Park University's graduate and professional programs to assure that they are specialized, scholarly, innovative, and designed to educate students to be creative, independent, and lifelong learners within the context of a global community.

School For Education Mission Statement
The School for Education at Park University, an institution committed to diversity and best practice, prepares educators to be effective school professionals, reflective change agents, and advocates for equity and excellence for all learners.

Vision Statement: Park University's School of Graduate and Professional Studies will be an international leader in providing innovative graduate and professional educational opportunities to learners within a global society.

School For Education Vision Statement
The School for Education at Park University is to be known as a leader in the preparation of educators who will address the needs, challenges, and possibilities of the 21st century.

Park University School for Education  Conceptual Framework


ED 554 Adult Education Learning Theory


S1P 2011 DL


Dennis, Kay S.


Assistant Professor


Ed.D., M.S.N., B.S.N.

Office Location


Office Hours


Daytime Phone




Semester Dates

10 January - 6 March, 2011

Class Days


Class Time



ED 500, 516, 538

Credit Hours



1.  Writing Literature Reviews: A Guide for Students of the Social and Behavioral Sciences (4th ed.). Author: Jose Galvan. Pyrczak Publishing (2009)

2.  Learning in Adulthood: A Comprehensive Guide (3rd ed.). Authors: Sharan Merriam, Rosemary Caffarella, and Lisa Baumgartner. Jossey-Bass (2006)

Additional Resources:

McAfee Memorial Library - Online information, links, electronic databases and the Online catalog. Contact the library for further assistance via email or at 800-270-4347.
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Course Description:

This course will provide advanced study of adult learning, theory, philosophical foundations of adult education, and research relating to specific issues and approaches for facilitating adult education. In addition, the course will examine the role and characteristics of the adult learner in the 21st century.

Educational Philosophy:

Students achieve optimal success when they participate actively in a timely manner, consistently apply their best effort, and share the responsibility for their own learning. As an educator I will guide, facilitate and support your learning by:

1.   Creating an organized, positive, and interactive learning climate

2.   Focusing your attention on important aspects of the course

3.   Clarifying performance expectations

4.   Encouraging reflection

  1. Assessing and acknowledging your achievements

Learning Outcomes:
  Core Learning Outcomes

  1. Describe the characteristics of adult learners
  2. Critically analyze emerging research on adult learning theory.
  3. Examine the major philosophical foundations of adult learning
  4. Describe the major adult learning theory
  5. Describe theories of motivation
  6. Apply adult learning theories and research to contextual situations;
  7. Gain an understanding of philosophical foundations of adult education.
  8. Explore adult learning theory from a global perspective

Core Assessment:

Class Assessment:


Important: All papers should adhere to the following style guidelines:
  • Cover sheet with all information, including your name
  • 12 point font
  • Times New Roman
  • Double spaced
  • 1” margins
  • Left-justified
  • Pages numbered
  • APA 5th or revised 6th ed.

1.   Mini-paper assignment in Week 1, as a diagnostic tool to improve your academic writing.

2.   Discussions weekly, as detailed elsewhere in this Syllabus. 

3.   Case Studies (Weeks 4 & 7) to apply theories and analyze the implications of theory in practice. 

4.   Journal (Weeks 1-7) as reflection on course content and your own learning.

5.   Short Papers to facilitate completing a high quality literature review.

6.   Literature Review, with weekly progress and feedback.

7.   Proctored Final Examination/Core Assessment, as required by the School for Education. 
1.  Mini-paper. Quality Standards for Academic Writing (25 pts.)
The controlling idea not only is clear but also is particularly thoughtful or imaginative.
Paper seems to the reader to be a full discussion. It makes use of material from the class readings as well as ideas, experiences, or information supplied by the writer. All the material is integrated smoothly and supports the paper's focus persuasively. The writer seems to be a thoughtful, critical reader of the material with a genuine personal "voice."
Paper iseasy to follow; its structure seems effortless because of smooth transitions and a convincing rhetorical pattern.
Reads exceptionally smoothly. The reader notices no errors in grammar, usage, punctuation, or spelling.
Focus is clear and sustained throughout; but perhaps not so original.
Paper incorporates source material appropriately in terms of content, and smoothly in terms of style. Personal ideas and experiences are added. The focus is clearly supported.
Paper employs clear paragraphing and a logical sequencing of concepts addressed.
May contain an occasional problem in sentence structure or diction, but the reader is never seriously distracted.
Competent; the focus is clear but it seems commonplace or conventional.
Paper makes some use of the supplied readings and other material in support of its focus, though this use may not always be relevant. The sources perhaps are not discussed critically.
Paper generally is easy to follow, with reasonable paragraphing, though discussion may wander briefly.
Frequent mechanical problems distract reader temporarily, but one can always understand what the writer means.
Paper lacks focus.
Paper does not provide coherent support for the focus, makes no use of the sources, or makes frequent use of direct quotations (copying verbatim) without any introductory and concluding perspective, interpretation, application, etc. of this material.
Difficult to follow, either because the sequencing is not logical, or because it is repetitive, or because the paragraphing is not helpful.
Paper has severe problems with sentence structure or word choice, such that the meaning is difficult or impossible to understand.
2.  Discussion (10 pts. x 8 wks.)
Quality Standards
Discussion entries are clear, relevant and insightful. They exceed a basic response to the question. They provide a critical examination of the issue and/or stimulate critical thinking. Entries show a strong mastery of the content and promote ongoing dialogue. Writing follows professional and APA style guidelines.
9 - 10
Discussion is clear and relevant. Entries convey basic information and show strong content knowledge yet would benefit from use of critical analysis and insight; they should expand on the reasoning and logic. Minor errors in writing style or APA.
7 – 8
Discussion addresses main points yet lacks elaboration. Entries provide minimal information; they lack justification, support and additional content. Writing needs significant improvement to adhere to professional guidelines.
4 – 6
Discussion is vague, irrelevant or off-topic. Entries are late or missing, or they fail to encourage continued dialogue. Writing does not utilize professional or APA style guidelines.
    0 - 3
3.  Short papers
3 Papers
Quality Standards
1. Article Critique
50 points
 1) Fully responds to Galvan text, p. 8, question 1, A–E.
2)   Demonstrates a critical analysis of the assigned article.
3)   Concludes with brief reflection on the assignment.
SUBTOTAL ……………………………………………………………………………
4)   Contains > 5 mechanical errors (APA, format, spelling, punctuation, grammar, etc.).
5)   Per day for late submission.
2. Draft of
Lit Review
25 points
1)   Literature review as written resembles the outline submitted.
2)   Written logically, with effective introduction, good flow, appropriate transitions, summary.
SUBTOTAL ……………………………………………………………………………
3)   Contains > 5 mechanical errors (APA, format, spelling, grammar, punctuation, etc.). 
4)   Per day for late submission.
3. Lit Review Summary
50 points
1)   Includes the topic, research question(s), and literature reviewed.
2)   Includes a summary of salient points.
3)   Offers suggestions to inform practice.
SUBTOTAL ……………………………………………………………………………
4)   Contains > 5 mechanical errors (APA, format, spelling, punctuation, grammar, etc.), or exceeds 600 word limit.
5)   Per day for late submission.
4.   Case study (2 @ 25 pts.)
Critical Element
Three critical issues related to Wk. 4 (or 7)
Linkage of issues to Adult Education theory / concepts
Implications of theory as applied in practice
Mechanical errors in excess
5.   Literature Review (150 pts.)
Critical Elements
1-  Opening statement draws the reader in 
2-  Writer creates context; supplies background on importance of topic
3-  Paper flows so that the research questions emerge clearly
4-  Writer explicates the research question(s) to be investigated
5-  Explains layout of the review
6-  Identifies the literature to be presented, and explains its relevance
7-  Relates the literature to adult learning practice  
8-  Relates the literature to adult learning theory
9-  Discusses & explores each resource in the context of the topic and research questions; analyzes how it contributes to knowledge about the topic and the research questions 
10- Examines instances of conflicting information and/or views
11- Highlights and explains 3 significant new insights from the review
12- Makes recommendations on how new insights/learning from the literature review can enhance the field of adult education
13- Concludes the review with a tight, final 1-2 paragraphs that link the concepts and ideas
14- Quality of references (includes a minimum of 6 refereed journal articles, all published within past 5 years)
15- References include 1-3 Internet citations
MECHANICS: Includes all required sections: cover sheet, introduction, literature review, recommendations, conclusions, and reference APA; punctuation; spelling; grammar; use of subsections; logical progression; effective transitions and flow. Avoidance of excessive direct quotes.
Per day late








 Class Participation (8 wks.)



 Journal Entries (7 wks.)



 Case Studies (2 wks.)



 Paper #1 – Critique



 Paper #2 – Draft



 Paper #3 – Summary



 Literature Review



 Final Exam





 Letter Grade Policy

Earned Points
540 - 600
539 - 480
479 - 420
419 - 360
    0 - 359
       Below 59

Late Submission of Course Materials:
Class Week; Deadlines. A class week runs from Monday 12:01 a.m. to the following Sunday at midnight. All assignments are to be submitted by midnight of the due date. Due to the accelerated nature of this course, late assignments cannot be accepted except under extreme circumstances and with prior approval from the Instructor. If you have a true emergency such as a death or sudden illness, it is your responsibility to make contact with me as soon as possible (or have someone acting on your behalf do so). Vacation, travel for work, or other events are not considered emergencies. Exception: Issues related to a military deployment.  

Classroom Rules of Conduct:

1.  The Announcement feature of eCollege is an important line of communication during the course. You are responsible for reading every Announcement, and for contacting me if you have questions. If any changes in assignments occur, you will be notified via Announcement.

2.  Contact with your Instructor. The Instructor’s Office page contains a welcome message and contact information about Dr. Dennis, your Instructor. If you have a question on the weekly course content, please use the Office, so that all students can benefit. However, all students can see this area, so if your issue is personal, please use telephone or email.    

4.  The Virtual Café enables students to communicate with one another on side issues of interest to them. The Instructor does not use the café.

5.  Introductions are an important aspect of an online class. During the first week, please post an introduction of yourself. Become acquainted with your classmates on this page.

6.  The Dropbox is the route we will use for submission of all assignments, except if notified otherwise. Send no assignments as emailed attachments, please. Use the Dropbox (located at top of screen, second tab from right) to submit your work.
Participation in the Online Learning Environment

1.  The Netiquette section on the Help and Resources page offers some helpful information about participation in an online class. At times we may disagree with one other. Let’s do so agreeably, bearing in mind that each of us has a right to our own opinion.

2.  Contact me promptly if, after reading all the information in the eCollege course, you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions about this course. It is best to ask questions before an assignment is due, rather than after your grade has been posted.

3.  IMPORTANT: Academic writing is a matter of skilled habit. All of your text communications should be written in a professional style, free of slang and jargon. To receive the participation grade you desire, be sure to proofread your messages. The discussion threads in this course are not editable.  

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:
Course Topic/Dates/Assignments

Mini-paper. Adult education professionals are expected to demonstrate strong academic writing skills. This type of writing differs substantially from technical writing, email, text messaging, and the typical spoken conversation. You may write extremely well at this point; if so, this assignment can confirm that. However, in the interest of your success in this writing-intensive course, during Week 1 you are asked to demonstrate your writing skill and critical thinking by presenting a coherent picture of the topic you will use for your literature review. Clear thinking, attention to detail, and critical analysis are important. This assignment may reveal deficiencies related to grammar, spelling, subject/verb agreement, punctuation, proofreading, use of correction citation style, and such. If you receive feedback indicating shortcomings in your writing, you are advised to remediate such deficiencies promptly, as all grading in this course includes points for style. Resources available to you include Park University’s Writing Center at http://www.park.edu/support/. SmartThinking tutorial help is available to graduate students on a paying basis.

Class Participation. Graduate work is enriched through dialogue; in this course you will have numerous opportunities to exchange ideas with your classmates and Instructor. The purpose of our weekly discussions is to foster collaborative learning through a sharing of perspectives, ideas, and experiences that inform our interpretation of the course materials and content. You are expected to read all discussion posts. Each week please post your initial response by Wednesday. This post (2-3 paragraphs) must include at least 2 salient points from the week’s materials to support your comments. Paraphrase. Do not quote verbatim. Include a brief citation of the source. Enter at least 2 more posts to the discussion by midnight Sunday. If supplemental questions are added by the Instructor during the course of the discussion, you should respond to them as appropriate. 

Article Critique. The purpose of this Week 1 assignment is to help you evaluate material for your paper. After reading the Concieciao article posted under DocSharing, you will respond to several questions.   

Draft version of your literature review. For Week 6 you will compose, incubate, and revise a strong draft of your Literature Review. As an addendum, include a very brief reflection of your thoughts and reactions during the incubation/ rewriting process. You will find this sequence to be remarkably helpful in producing a quality paper. Papers will be returned in time for additional revision before you submit the final version.

Summary of Literature Review - Develop a 600 word summary and post in the designated Week 8 discussion thread. The purpose of this assignment is to practice the important skill of being precise yet concise. Be sure to include your topic, research questions, literature you reviewed, key points, and suggestions to inform the practice of adult education.

Case Studies. This activity is intended to help you strengthen your writing as you apply the course concepts to the practice of adult education. During Weeks 4 and 7, you will write a 2-page paper on a case study (located under Course Home - see Case Study). Video clips from Real Women Have Curves and The Business of Fancy Dancing will provide your source material. Your task is to identify 3 critical issues as they relate to the week, and explain these issues by applying specific adult learning theory or concepts. Then identify the implications of theory put into practice. Post your paper as a Word attachment to the designated Discussion Thread by midnight Friday. This will enable a comparison of insights gained. Also submit your paper via the Dropbox for grading.  

Literature Review. The purpose of the Literature Review is to explore an adult learning topic of your choice while developing the necessary skills for academic writing, specifically action research. You are encouraged to choose a topic for this assignment that you will use for ED 629, in which you write the first 3 chapters of a research proposal, and ED 630, in which you conduct the research and write chapters 4 and 5. Typically in a thesis or research project, the literature review comprises chapter 2. The final version of your Literature Review is due Week 8.

Procedure to use: 
1.   Isolate a sufficiently narrowed topic and discuss with the Instructor.

2.   Articulate up to 3 research questions.

3.   Locate, evaluate, and select your scholarly resources carefully.

4.   Use and correctly cite current academic literature that provides the essence of your review.

5.   Identify inconsistencies, duplications, and gaps in the literature, and any new questions that now emerge.

6.   Suggest ways in which the literature reviewed can inform the practice of adult education.
1.  IMPORTANT: Due to the brevity of the term, it is essential that you select a topic and keep it. In an 8-week term there is not enough time to alter your decision and start anew with a different topic.
3.  Here is a sample topic or thesis statement: Tribal colleges serve as a positive means to self-determination for Native American adult learners. In researching this topic one might review tribal colleges, self-determination, barriers to adult learning, and adult learning theory as it relates to cultural influences on success to marginalized populations. These terms are known as keywords in the library research arena.
4.  Depending upon when you completed ED516, Introduction to Research, you may need to review the material from that course as you will be expected to apply it in this course.
5.  If your outlining skills are rusty, you are advised to remediate yourself promptly prior to completing the outline assignment. During this course you will construct a detailed outline, to be followed carefully in subsequent papers.
6. If you have not conducted a recent library search for scholarly material such as peer-reviewed journal articles, or if you have not scrutinized scholarly works recently, you should update your library skills and read several research studies. It will help you to see how other researchers frame their research questions and/or hypotheses. If you set about writing these assignments uninformed, you may have serious difficulty writing at graduate level.
7.  Have in mind specific criteria by which you evaluate what you read. For example: Is the author identified and credentials noted? When was the material published/updated? These are only 2 dimensions to assess; numerous resources are available online to guide you in evaluating resources. You will be asked to discuss your methods for search and evaluation.
8.  A literature review is a formal academic paper with APA citation required. You will construct your review incrementally and received feedback weekly. Your review should include 6-20 peer reviewed journal articles published within the past 5 years (unless an item holds some special historical value). You may use unpublished research if it is well documented (for example, it is found in Dissertation Abstracts). Use websites very selectively. Wikipedia, newspaper, or magazine sources, About.com, and such are not acceptable resources. 
9.  Please review all material posted under the Writing Center section of this course. Additional resources can be found in the Webliography section of this course.  
  Assignment Due Dates
Week 1
Introduction to Adult Learning  
MCB Ch. 1-3  
Galvan Ch. 1-3   
Discussion: First post Wednesday    
Paper # 1 - Galvan p. 8; #1 A - E: Sunday (Dropbox)  
Mini-paper: Sunday (Dropbox)
Journal: Sunday (Dropbox) 
Paper Topic: Sunday (Dropbox)  
Week 2
Older Adults & Aging  
MCB Ch. 12 & 14  
Galvan Ch. 4-6  
Discussion: First post Wednesday    
Journal: Sunday (Dropbox)  
Research Question(s): Sunday (Dropbox)    
Week 3
MCB Ch. 13 & 15  
Galvan Ch. 10  
Ryan & Deci (Doc Sharing)    
Discussion: First post Wednesday    
Journal: Sunday (Dropbox) 
Detailed Outline: Sunday (Dropbox)  
Week 4
Adult Learning Theory 
MCB Ch. 4 & 11  
Galvan Ch. 7-8  
Discussion: First post Wednesday    
Journal: Sunday (Dropbox) 
Case Study: Sunday (Dropbox)  
Introduction Section: Sunday (Dropbox)   
Week 5
Adult Learning Theory 
MCB Ch. 5-6  
Galvan Ch. 9 & 11  
Discussion: First post Wednesday    
Journal: Sunday (Dropbox) 
Work on paper    
Week 6
Adult Learning Theory 
MCB Ch. 7-8  
Galvan Ch. 12  
Discussion: First post Wednesday    
Paper # 2 – Sunday (Dropbox)
Journal: Sunday (Dropbox)   
Week 7
Adult Learning Theory 
MCB Ch. 9-10  
Galvan Ch. 13 & 14  
Schell (DocSharing)  
Discussion: First post Wednesday  
Journal: Sunday (Dropbox) 
Incubate, Rewrite and Reflect
Week 8
MCB Ch. 16  
Discussion: First post Wednesday    
Paper # 3 – Summary Post: Wednesday  
Literature Review: Thursday (Dropbox)    

Academic Honesty:
As a learning community, the University upholds the highest standards of academic integrity in all its academic activities, by faculty, staff, administrators and students. Academic integrity involves much more than respecting intellectual property rights. It lies at the heart of learning, creativity, and the core values of the University. Those who learn, teach, write, publish, present, or exhibit creative works are advised to familiarize themselves with the requirements of academic integrity and make every effort to avoid possible offenses against it, knowingly or unknowingly. Park University 2010-2011 Graduate Catalog Page 20


Plagiarism involves the appropriation of another person's ideas, interpretation, words (even a few), data, statements, illustration or creative work and their presentation as one's own. An offense against plagiarism constitutes a serious academic misconduct.  Although offenses against academic integrity can manifest themselves in various ways, the most common forms of offenses are plagiarism and cheating. Plagiarism goes beyond the copying of an entire article. It may include, but is not limited to: copying a section of an article or a chapter from a book, reproduction of an art work, illustration, cartoon, photograph and the like and passing them off as one's own. Copying from the Internet is no less serious an offense than copying from a book or printed article, even when the material is not copyrighted.

Plagiarism also includes borrowing ideas and phrases from, or paraphrasing, someone else's work, published or unpublished, without acknowledging and documenting the source. Acknowledging and documenting the source of an idea or phrase, at the point where it is utilized, is necessary even when the idea or phrase is taken from a speech or conversation with another person.

Park University 2010-2011 Graduate Catalog Page 20

Attendance Policy:

Instructors are required to maintain attendance records and report absences. Excused absences can be granted by the instructor, for medical reasons, school sponsored activities, and employment-related demands, including temporary duty. Students are responsible for any missed work. Absences for two successive weeks, without approved excuse, will be reported to the Director of the individual graduate program, or to the Executive Director for the Graduate School, for appropriate action. Students with such a record of absences, without an approved excuse, may be administratively withdrawn from the class and notified that an "F" will be recorded, unless the student initiates official withdrawal from the class(es).Park University 2010-2011 Graduate Catalog Page 24

Disability Guidelines:
Park University is committed to meeting the needs of all students that meet the criteria for special assistance. These guidelines are designed to supply directions to students concerning the information necessary to accomplish this goal. It is Park University's policy to comply fully with federal and state law, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, regarding students with disabilities. In the case of any inconsistency between these guidelines and federal and/or state law, the provisions of the law will apply. Additional information concerning Park University's policies and procedures related to disability can be found on the Park University web page: http://www.park.edu/disability .


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Last Updated:1/8/2011 2:21:54 PM