Faculty should be aware that adult learners have valuable experiences to share. Merriam, Caffarella, and Baumgartner (2007), site Lindeman, “the resource of highest value in adult education is the learner’s experience” and “learning is a continuous process grounded in experience. (p. 161) According to Merriam et al. (2007):
Experience provides the catalyst for learning in reflective practice, but most often it is seen as separate from the learning process itself. The physical and social experiences and situations in which learners find themselves and the tools they use in that experience are integral to the entire learning process. (p. 178)
Adult learners are defined by their experiences as parents, spouses, workers, etc. These everyday experiences supply adult learners with a vast database of knowledge. Faculty who understand how these experiences add value to everyday learning are more effective educators.
Merriam, S. B., Caffarella, R. S., & Baumgartner, L. M. (2007). Learning in adulthood: A comprehensive guide (3rd ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.