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Learning Environment Design Framework
Instructional Design Toolkit

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ISD Concept Map

Learning may be thought of as a spiral with steps of formal and informal learning episodes taking place.


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Alan Tough

Tough's first work: Why Adults Learn: A Study of the Major Reasons for Beginning and Continuing a Learning Project. Toronto (Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, 1968), explains why adult learners expect the learning experience to mirror their feelings of autonomy and self-worth, and to acknowledge their life experience.

In 1979 he wrote The Adult's Learning Projects (Research in Education Series No. 1. Toronto: Ontario Institute for Studies in Education), in which he explains how most adult learning takes place outside of institutional frameworks (called informal learning). According to the research of Alan Tough, the overwhelming majority (about 70%) of adult learning takes place outside institutional frameworks. Note that about 20% of the learning are supported by others who are not professionals helpers, such as supervisors, colleagues, parents, friends, etc. Professional helpers, such as teachers, trainers, and counselors direct only about 10% of our learning. This could be attributed to the following:

Tough demonstrated that many adults are active, self-directed learners and they want to learn! No one has to force them. He showed that adults have a large foundation of knowledge and skill upon which they base further growth and development. They are motivated by life situations to immediately apply new knowledge and skills. Tough's recommendation is that educators should spend less time teaching specific content and more time helping adults learn.

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