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Adults Transfer Past Experiences to Learning

Malcolm H. Knowles introduced the andragogy model of learning for adults in 1968 and this model has been supported by several other theorists.   This model is in direct opposition to the child learning theory of pedagogy which describes how children are taught and learn.

Knowles’ model assumes that people who take the responsibility for their own learning activities learn more.  They want to understand why they are being taught something.

According to Knowles, adults learn differently from children.  Adult learning is strongly influenced by life experiences. They approach learning as problem solving and learn best when immediate  solutions  are needed.

Not only do adults bring these life experiences (including mistakes) to the learning environment, they learn new things by experiencing them.  An instructor needs to acknowledge a learner’s past experience.  This helps the adult  learn quickly and learn something the first time it is taught.

An instructor must be aware of his audience and teach them as adults who want to experience the learning.  The trainer can capitalize on the positive experiences and generalize past experiences to new learning.


Culatta, Richard (2011), Andragogy, M. Knowles.  Instructional Learning,

Retrieved from:

Hiemstra, R., & Sisco, B. (1990). Moving from Pedagogy to Andragogy.

Individualizing instruction. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.)

Oakland Community College (2008) What is Pedagogy?  Slideshare. Retrieved


Thompson, C. B.  (1999). Adults Learn Differently Than Children.   Retrieved

From Training Systems, Inc.


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Diversity and Its Impact on Corporate Culture

Diversity in the workplace refers to employees of various ethnic and racial backgrounds as well as females, handicapped individuals, and older Americans. Today, many corporations have an increasingly diverse workforce.

All organizations have their own unique corporate culture.  This cultural profile can be defined as the vision, strategies, beliefs, habits, and expected behavioral norms of their employees.    Diversity can have a major impact on the organizational culture of a corporation.  As the face of the workplace changes, the culture must adapt to diversity to be successful.

In the 2011 Spring edition of Diversity Inc., four case studies provide convincing evidence that a corporate culture must accept and promote diversity.  In cases where the CEO embraced diversity and personally committed to diversity management, the corporations were far more successful. In today’s global economy, companies must understand and adapt to different cultures.  Again, the successful corporations hired employees that understood a multicultural marketplace.

A review of the Walmart 2011 Workforce Diversity report reflects its efforts to diversify its workforce.  Walmart has been very successful in hiring and promoting minorities.

Our assignment this week has sparked an  awareness that diversity in the corporate world is not only a reality, but a great opportunity that must be embraced. The ability of a corporation to adapt its culture will be competitive and highly successful.  

            Managing diversity isn’t just about complying with a federal regulation.  You must employ quality employees.  When you open your applicant pool to include minorities, you have the opportunity to source the best possible talent. Especially when sourcing for international opportunities, hiring someone who understands the culture gives you the competitive edge. 

            To develop an effective diversity training program, the first step would be to involve top management and make sure they were onboard.   The CEO must understand the benefits of diversity management and be fully committed and give a strategic direction to the company.  Next, training for upper and mid level   managers would include the impact on corporate culture and profitability, how the program would work and their role in making the training a success.  Next the training would be rolled to supervisors and finally to the department level.  Everyone would be trained and all employees must understand the resources available to help develop needed skills and the responsibility of completing the training.