2008 | 1 | 1 | 29-38
Article title

Comprehensions of learning and learners - understanding experiences of adults and experts in adult education

Title variants
Languages of publication
The aim of the paper is to interpret personal comprehensions of learning, in order to understand the complexities, uniqueness and divides of the subjective reality of adult learning comprehensions."One of the major implications of lifelong learning is that we can potentially learn from every experience in life" (Jarvis, 2006; 2007).We present an interpretation of adults and adult education experts' comprehensions of learning and learners. According to Roger Harrison representations of learners are never neutral; rather they are active in ‘naturalising’ certain understandings of what learning means, what it means to learn and to be a learner, and in so doing define the boundaries of the educational field and whatever is possible within it (Harrison 2003).Interpretation of empirical examples is based on two studies, comprising of 55 semistructured interviews with adults and 14 semistructured interviews with experts. There are tensions and divides in the comprehensions of learning, especially in understanding the adult learner and the role of adult education by the experts. There is a need to understand different comprehensions in order to understand learning experience.
Physical description
  • Tallinn University, Estonia
  • Tallinn University, Estonia
  • Tallinn University, Estonia
  • Alheit, P. (1994). Taking the knocks: Youth unemployment and biography - A qualitative analysis. London: Cassell.
  • Alheit, P. (2004). Challenges of the post-modern learning society: A critical approach. In A. Bron, E. Kurantowicz, H. Olesen & L. West (Eds.), ‘Old’ and ‘new’ worlds of adult learning (pp. 389-407). Wroclaw: ESREA & Wydawnictwo Naukowe DSWE TWP.
  • Bauman, Z., & May, T. (2005). Mõeldes sotsioloogiliselt (Thinking sociologically). Tartu: Eesti Vabaharidusliidu kirjastus.
  • Dixon-Woods, M., Bonas, S., Booth, A., Jones, D. R., Miller, T., Sutton, A., Shaw, R., Smith, H., & Young, B. (2006). How can systematic reviews incorporate qualitative research? A critical perspective. Qualitative Research, 6(1), 27-44.
  • Dohmen, G. (1996). Lifelong learning: Guidelines for a modern education policy. Bonn: Federal Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Technology.
  • Harrison, R. (2003). Languaging learners: Constructions of identity through discourses of lifelong learning. Paper presented at the 33rd Annual Conference of the SCUTREA, University of Wales, Bangor, July 1-3, 2003.
  • Jarvis, P. (1992). Paradoxes of learning: On becoming an individual society. San-Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
  • Jarvis, P. (2006). Beyond the learning society: Globalisation and the moral imperative for reflective social change. International Journal of Lifelong Education, 25(3), 201-212.
  • Jõgi, L. (2004). Trends and tendencies in Estonian adult education (1991-2002). In A. Lepik & M. Pandis (Eds.), Kasvatusteadused muutuste ajateljel: Sotsiaal- ja kasvatusteaduste doktorantide II teaduskonverentsi materjalid (Educational science on path of change: Publications of scientific conference of doctoral students on social and educational science) (pp. 261-272). Tallinn: Tallinna Pedagoogikaülikool.
  • Jõgi, L., & Karu, K. (2004). Täiskasvanu õppimine kui koolituse probleem (Adults learning as a training problem). In A. Liimets & V. Ruus (Eds.), Õppimine mitmest vaatenurgast (Learning: Different perspectives) (pp. 130-140). Tallinn: Tallinna Pedagoogikaülikool.
  • Kuurme, T. (2004). Õppimine kui kogemus (Learning as experience). In A. Liimets & V. Ruus (Eds.), Õppimine mitmest vaatenurgast (Learning: Different perspectives) (pp. 60-72). Tallinn: Tallinna Pedagoogikaülikool.
  • MacKeracher, D. (2004). Making sense of adult learning. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
  • Manninen, J., Mannisenmäki, E., Luukannel, S., & Riihilä, S. (2003). Elinikäisen oppimisen tuska ja kurjuus? (Lifelong learning: Distress and misery). Helsinki: Palmeenia.
  • Marton, F., & Booth, S. (1997). The idea of phenomenography. In R. J. Sternberg (Ed.), Learning and awareness (pp. 110-136). Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers.
  • Marton, F., Dall'Alba, G., & Beaty, E. (1993). Conceptions of learning. International Journal of Educational Research, 19, 277-300.
  • Merriam, S. B., & Caffarella, R. S. (1999). Learning in adulthood. San Fransisco: Jossey-Bass.
  • Säljo, R. (2003). Õppimine tegelikkuses: sotsiokultuuriline käsitlus (Learning in reality: A socio-cultural understanding). Tartu: Eesti Vabaharidusliidu kirjastus.
  • Tight, M. (1998). Bridging the ‘learning divide’: The nature and politics of participation. Studies in the Education of Adults, 30(2):110-120.
  • van Manen, M. (2001). Researching lived experience. Toronto: The Althouse Press.
Document Type
Publication order reference
YADDA identifier
JavaScript is turned off in your web browser. Turn it on to take full advantage of this site, then refresh the page.