Why Passion Matters To Adult Learners

0 Flares Twitter 0 Facebook 0 Filament.io 0 Flares ×
Ashford University - subway tablet

Our life is an exhilarating journey. It is exciting to make new discoveries as we move forward and find new passions or re-discover passions we once had. But what is passion? As an educator, I find the following quote from “Life Launch – A Passionate Guide to the Rest of Your Life,” Hudson and McLean (2006), to be very powerful: “Passion is a sense of energy for something. Your passions are your internal energy source, the fire or determination you have for reaching some destination up ahead. They tell you why you are on this journey and what you want from life. They are your push and pull.” (p.67)

We all hold core values that we are passionate about. For example, achievement, personal mastery, play, and creativity are just a few that compete for our loyalty and commitment (Hudson & Mclean, 2006). When we are passionate about personal mastery and achievement we work to learn, grow, and make new discoveries. So then what motivates an adult learner to want to learn? Alexander, Clugston and Tice (2009) tell us there are different learning contexts for adult learners. Some are motivated to learn in a personal and a practical context. They want to accomplish important educational and career goals. Some want to learn new things just to cope with life situations they face. Some are motivated to learn in an experiential context, and they want to pull things together from their experiences. Finally, some want to learn idealistically, so they can make new discoveries and explore new theories and concepts they can conceptualize, connect to, and apply to their personal and professional lives.

Through my years in the field of education I have been on both sides of the accelerated classroom. I was a student who returned to college to complete both of my degrees and am now an instructor who has taught over 100 undergraduate level courses. From that experience, my personal opinion is that each adult learner is unique, but they are all passionate about learning. They are motivated to learn and achieve their educational goals. Adults bring to the classroom a wide variety and range of experiences in terms of their working life and educational backgrounds (Wynne, 2013). This all impacts how they participate in learning.

So how do adults approach learning? Alexander, Clugston and Tice (2009) tell us learning can be approached in a casual or proactive way. When we approach learning by returning to a university, we no longer are approaching it in a casual way; we approach it with an extrodinary purpose – one that needs passion.

For example, I remember a student who was taking her very first higher education course in 2005. I remember encouraging her and seeing her build her confidence and embrace learning. She discovered new passions and let them fuel her learning. Three years later, in 2008, she graduated with her BA in Organizational Management. In 2011, this same student graduated with her MBA. In her professional career that same year, the company she worked for recognized her educational accomplishments and fine work performance, and promoted her to Vice President of Human Resources – all because of her passion.

Through countless experiences like the one above, I have come to believe that, for adult students, learning fuels passion and passion energizes learners toward their goals. Passion is a very powerful tool.

Written by: Bill Davis
Bill Davis is an instructor in the Forbes School of Business at Ashford University. He holds a Master’s degree in Organizational Leadership from St. Ambrose University, a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from Lewis University, and a Certified Manager Certification from The Institute for Professional Managers. Davis completed sales, human relations, and leadership courses at Dale Carnegie Training. He has over three decades experience working in the beverage industry, specifically for PepsiCo. He has also worked as a consultant for many organizations, advising in subjects like strategic planning, leadership, professional selling, and organizational change.

Resources:
Alexander, M., Clugston, W., & Tice, E. (2009). Learning Online and Achieving Lifelong Goals. San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint, Inc.
Hudson, F.M., & McLean, D.P. (2006). Life Launch, A Passionate Guide to the Rest of Your Life. Santa Barbara, CA: Hudson Institute Press.
Wynne, R. (2013). Characteristics of Adult Learners. Retrieved May 15, 2013, from http://www.assetproject.info/learner_methodologies/before/characteristics.htm

Popular Posts

  • Top 7 Reasons Why You Should Pursue Your MBA If you’re a college graduate, returning to school for your Master of Business Administration (MBA) might not appeal to you. After all, you’ve already spent four years on your Bachelor’s degree. Wh. . . November 24, 2014
  • Best Courses to Become More Marketable Most universities are composed of typical colleges such as the College of Health Care Studies, Business, Education, and Liberal Arts. Within these colleges are various majors a student can choose,. . . September 17, 2013
  • 5 Tips for Transferring Credits One of the best ways to accelerate your graduation day is to transfer credits. But many students find the transfer process very long and complicated. It doesn’t have to be so scary. Here are five . . . November 14, 2013
  • Explore Exciting Jobs in Healthcare You love to help people. You are interested in the science of the human body. And you believe in the value of a healthy lifestyle. If these traits describe you, then you ought to consider a career i. . . March 12, 2014
  • Business School Accreditation — What’s the Difference? When searching for a business school, you may notice that some business programs are accredited by different organizations with acronyms like AACSB, IACBE, and ACBSP. It’s easy to get lost in an alpha. . . May 23, 2014
  • 5 Great Education Documentaries The documentary is an underrated genre in the film industry, often described as one for those who are so “crazy” about a topic, they have to make a film about it. However, some of these “crazy” peop. . . July 12, 2013
  • Words of Advice for Graduates One of my favorite times of the year is commencement. I always enjoy seeing students walk across the stage to celebrate their achievement. When students get close to graduation, you can sense their en. . . March 10, 2014
  • The Five Toughest Interview Questions Job interviews are nerve wracking for just about anyone, whether you are a seasoned professional or a recent college graduate. The key to calming those nerves is preparation and practice. Prepare for . . . August 30, 2013
  • Choose a Relevant Degree Business, English, Law – these are perennial subjects for degree programs, and they’ve stood the test of time. When students enroll in these programs, they already have some idea of what they’ll stu. . . February 5, 2014
  • Advanced Degrees: Which Fields Provide the Highest Paying Jobs? Every spring it’s in the news: colleges are raising tuition. Higher tuition means students will be carrying a larger debt into the workforce, which cuts into their income. Choosing the right field o. . . September 9, 2013
  • Health and Technology The idea of using technology to help with maintaining a healthy lifestyle is nothing new. Unfortunately, neither are the challenges of finding ways […]August 18, 2016
  • Online Tools That Bridge the Generation Gap Adult learners returning to school – especially an online environment – after several years often find the college experience has evolved significantly since […]August 8, 2016
  • How to Get the Most Out of Your Ashford App One of the major shifts in higher education is how technology has changed the landscape. Ashford University embraces these technological advancements and provides […]August 3, 2016
  • Virtual Reality in the Classroom Technology has been changing our society’s landscape for decades. From supercomputers to smartphones, technological advancements have made some major modifications to how we […]August 2, 2016
  • Tech Skills All MBA Students Should Know In the Information Age, MBA students must be tech savvy. These basic skills can present a steep learning curve, but they are all […]July 20, 2016
  • Social Media Influence on Employer Policies In the past decade, social media has woven its way into the fabric of our personal lives and transformed the way businesses and […]July 12, 2016
  • Is Big Data Going to Impact Your Education? Big data refers to the massive amounts of information (data) that compiles every second of every day in the digital age. The term […]July 5, 2016
  • How Virtual Reality Could Change the Classroom Forever When you hear the term virtual reality, you probably think of the full-immersion video games once reserved for science fiction – but virtual […]June 28, 2016
  • Critical Elements of Effective Communication Organizations cannot function without effective communication, and the actions of every team member – verbal, nonverbal, written, or electronic – will influence opinions […]June 13, 2016
  • 5 Great Tips to Get the Most Out of LinkedIn When you’re job hunting, the most important online profile to fine tune is your LinkedIn profile. This site is the first that most […]June 9, 2016
Tags: , , ,

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (12 votes, average: 4.50 out of 5)
Loading ... Loading ...