Adult Learning and Development: Perspectives From Educational Psychology, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Adult Learning and Development

Perspectives From Educational Psychology, 1st Edition

Edited by M. Cecil Smith, Thomas Pourchot


296 pages

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Adult education occurs whenever individuals engage in sustained, systematic learning in order to affect changes in their attitudes, knowledge, skills, or belief systems. Learning, instruction, and developmental processes are the primary foci of educational psychology research and theorizing, but educational psychologists' work in these domains has centered primarily on the childhood and adolescent school years. More recently, however, a number of educational psychologists have studied learning and development in adulthood. The results of these efforts have resulted in what is now called adult educational psychology.

The purpose of this volume is to introduce this new subfield within educational psychology. Section 1 focuses on the interplay between learning and development in adulthood, how various forms of instruction lead to different learning outcomes for adults, description of the diverse social contexts in which adult learning takes place, and the development of metacognitive knowledge across the life span. Section 2 describes both research and theory pertaining to adult intellectual functioning, thinking, and problem-solving skills within various contexts. Section 3 describes research in a variety of adult learning domains; discusses the cognitive and behavioral dimensions of reading in adulthood and the applications of reading in real-life circumstances; examines an educational intervention developed to promote forgiveness; and relates the outcomes of an intervention designed to educate parents about their children's mathematics learning. Section 4 summarizes the themes and issues running throughout this, the first book that has sought to span the gulf between adult education, adult development, and educational psychology.


"A 'must read' for researchers, teachers, and graduate students in the fields of educational psychology, adult development, and adult education, this collection will also interest adults seeking insights into their own life-span learning and development."


"This book should be of interest to many readers. Educational psychologists will discover that learning is not restricted to children, and cognitive aging researchers will discover adult learning may be investigated outside of the laboratory. General readers will learn much about themselves as learners from chapters that are well-written and easy to comprehend."

Contemporary Psychology

Table of Contents

Contents: M. Pressley, Foreword. Preface. Part I:Introduction. M.C. Smith, T. Pourchot, What Does Educational Psychology Know About Adult Learning and Development? Part II:Theoretical Perspectives. N. Granott, We Learn, Therefore We Develop: Learning Versus Development--or Developing Learning? J. Pascual-Leone, R.R. Irwin, Abstraction, the Will, the Self, and Modes of Learning in Adulthood. C.J. Bonk, K.A. Kim, Extending Sociocultural Theory to Adult Learning. G. Schraw, On the Development of Adult Metacognition. Part III:Knowing, Learning, and Problem-Solving in Adulthood. B. Torff, R.J. Sternberg, Changing Mind, Changing World: Practical Intelligence and Tacit Knowledge in Adult Learning. M. Schommer, The Role of Adults' Beliefs About Knowledge in School, Work, and Everyday Life. P.L. Ackerman, Adult Intelligence: Sketch of a Theory and Applications to Learning and Education. R.N. Carney, J.R. Levin, Mnemonic Strategies for Adult Learners. Part IV:Adult Educational Psychology. B.J.F. Meyer, A.P. Talbot, Adult Age Differences in Reading and Remembering Text and Using This Information to Make Decisions in Everyday Life. M.C. Smith, The Educational Psychology of Reading in Adulthood. C.T. Coyle, R.D. Enright, Forgiveness Education With Adult Learners. L. Shumow, Contributions of Parent Education to Adult Development. Part V:Conclusion. M.C. Smith, T. Pourchot, Toward an Adult Educational Psychology. Author Index. Subject Index.

About the Series

Educational Psychology Series

This series has several goals:

  • to present the most significant contemporary theory and research on psychology as it is applied to education at all levels – elementary; secondary, and tertiary;
  • to present this research in a way that is relevant and accessible to both psychologists and educators;
  • to explore new ideas in instruction and assessment that are grounded in theory and tested in classrooms;
  • to inform and influence educational policy through the establishment of a solid base of theory and research rather than through the fads and fashions that come and go with the times but that have no base in the psychology of instruction;
  • to achieve further integration in the perspectives of education and psychology, as well as to draw together various fields of psychology in order to capitalize on their potential contributions to educational outcomes;
  • to explore notions of school reform that are linked to our knowledge about students’ learning, thinking, and motivation; and
  • to disseminate ideas from around the world, including Europe, Asia, and Africa, as well as the Americas.


This series will publish monographs and edited books that advance these goals through new and innovative contributions to educational psychology. Edited books must have a sense of coherence, contain unifying introductory and concluding chapters, and be internally consistent in scope and level of writing.

Potential authors and volume editors are encouraged to take risks and to explore with the series editors nontraditional points of vie wand methodologies. Interdisciplinary contributions involving theory and methodology from diverse fields, such as computer science, philosophy, linguistics, anthropology, and neuroscience, are especially welcome, but all contributions must be readable and interesting to psychologists and educators of varying backgrounds. Authors and editors from all around the world are encouraged to submit proposals.

Examples of topics that would be of interest include, but are not limited to, creative techniques for instruction, nontraditional forms of assessment, student learning, student motivation, organizational structure and climate, teacher education, new conceptions of abilities and achievement, analyses of cognitive structures and representations in various disciplines, expertise in teaching and administration, use of technology in the schools, at-risk children, adult education, and styles of learning and thinking.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
EDUCATION / Educational Psychology