Adult learning: From learning theory to parliamentary practice

Peter Holland, Rachel Lenders

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Otherpeer-review


The concept of adult learning has a simple and logical appeal in that adults, as
mature people with life experiences, will see issues and react according to these experiences. If this approach can be harnessed by providing training that encourages the use of experience and reflective learning the impact of training and development is likely to be more effective. However, as Smith (1998) notes, there is still much debate and discussion over the clear difference between how children learn (pedagogy) and how adults learn (andragogy). Whilst these ongoing debates are beyond the scope of this chapter, the development of adult education through the twentieth century has been a significant catalyst for the development of a discrete body of research. The body of this work has provided a framework for understanding the key aspects (content and context) of adult learning. This chapter therefore explores the theoretical development of adult learning and its application through workplace learning, using examples of the Australian Senate to illustrate its use in action.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationParliamentarians' Professional Development
Subtitle of host publicationThe Need for Reform
EditorsColleen Lewis, Ken Coghill
Place of PublicationSwitzerland
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9783319241814
ISBN (Print)9783319241791
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Publication series

NamePublic Administration, Governance and Globalization

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