Engaging ideas, transforming minds
Engaging ideas, transforming minds
Canadian Scholars’ Press
249 pages
9 x 6 inches
November 2014
Print ISBN: 9781551306377
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This book provides educators and facilitators with a comprehensive overview of the historical underpinnings and philosophical orientations of adult education and adult learning while attending to the various roles individuals play both within and beyond the formal constraints of the classroom. Positioning learners’ and instructors’ educational narratives as central to the theories that inform adult education, Pathways of Adult Learning opens up a dialogue among students, educators, community members, scholars, and working professionals about the many possible avenues toward knowledge sharing.

Employing a personal, accessible tone, Janet Groen and Colleen Kawalilak take up a relational approach that encourages readers to reflect upon their own experiences as learners within the broadening context of adult education. Conscious of the power imbalances that can emerge in both institutional and professional work and learning environments, this text explores specific teaching and facilitation strategies that effectively generate ideas and accommodate adult learners of varying gender orientations, socio-economic backgrounds, and ethnicities. Through their collaborative analysis of a diverse collection of first-person narratives, provided by both students and scholars working in the field, the authors construct a multi-faceted portrait of the status of adult learning today.

Integrating a critical lens to explore how social, cultural, and economic factors influence and shape individual and collective pathways toward lifelong learning, this text is an indispensible guide for anyone studying or facilitating educational programming for adults in diverse work and learning contexts

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Table of Contents

About the Authors

Part I: Pathways of Learning: Interpreting Our Story
Chapter 1: On Being an Adult Learner
Chapter 2: Adult Development
Chapter 3: Sociocultural Influences

Part II: Philosophy and History: Navigating the Landscape
Chapter 4: Philosophical Orientations in Adult Education
Chapter 5: Historical Underpinnings

Part III: Learning about Learning: Exploring the Terrain
Chapter 6: Traditional Theories of Learning
Chapter 7: The Big Four Adult Learning Theories
Chapter 8: Other Theories of Adult Learning

Part IV: Contexts and Praxis: Engaging in Learning
Chapter 9: Contexts of Work and Learning
Chapter 10: Moving Forward: Learning and Leading


Janet Groen

Janet Groen is Associate Professor and Chair of Educational Studies in Adult Learning in the Werklund School of Education at the University of Calgary.

Colleen Kawalilak

Colleen Kawalilak is Associate Professor and the Associate Dean International in the Werklund School of Education at the University of Calgary.


"[This book offers] a well-written and coherent discussion of difficult topics ... The narrative approach provides an accessible introduction to the current theories of lifelong learning."
—  Jim Sharpe, Associate Professor in Lifelong Learning, Mount Saint Vincent University

"Pathways provides close-up narrative stories to enhance the topic of each chapter. This gives the material a holistic, inter-relational presentation that emphasizes life-long learning, reflection, and self-actualization."
—  Sharon Abbey, Director of the Centre for Adult, Education and Community Outreach, Brock University

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