The adult learner

Topics: Learning, Adult education, Theory Pages: 195 (111985 words) Published: June 5, 2014





Human Resource Development

Adult Education and

The Definitive Classic in


Amsterdam • Boston • Heidelberg • London • New York • Oxford • Paris • San Diego • San Francisco • Singapore • Sydney • Tokyo



Printed in the United States of America
04 05 06 07 08 09 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

ISBN: 0-7506-7837-2

British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data
A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Knowles, Malcolm Shepherd, 1913The adult learner : the definitive classic in adult education and human resource development / Malcolm S. Knowles, Elwood F. Holton III, and Richard A. Swanson.– 6th ed. p. cm.

Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 0-7506-7837-2 (alk. paper)
1. Adult learning. 2. Adult education. 3. Training. I. Holton, Ed, 1957- II. Swanson, Richard A., 1942- III. Title.
LC5225.L42K56 2005

Permissions may be sought directly from Elsevier’s Science & Technology Rights Department in Oxford, UK: phone: (+44) 1865 843830, fax: (+44) 1865 853333, e-mail: You may also complete your request on-line via the Elsevier homepage (, by selecting “Customer Support” and then “Obtaining Permissions.”

No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.

Copyright © 2005, Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Previous editions Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 1990, 1998 by Butterworth-Heinemann.

ϱ This book is printed on acid-free paper.

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Burlington, MA 01803, USA
525 B Street, Suite 1900, San Diego, California 92101-4495, USA 84 Theobald’s Road, London WC1X 8RR, UK

This revised sixth edition of Malcolm’s 1973 book is a testimony to his own learning journey and his personal confidence in the individual learner. In honor of Malcolm S. Knowles, the Academy of Human Resource Development has named its doctoral-dissertationof-the-year award in his name. Those wishing to make a donation to this student-award endowment should contact the Academy.

Malcolm was one of the world’s leading scholar–practitioners of adult learning. He was a member of a generation that experienced the fullest range of character-building phases the United States has known: a massive influx of immigrants, several wars, an economic depression, waves of technological advances, the civil rights movement, the dominance of the knowledge worker, and an optimism about the human spirit. While Malcolm participated in all this, he was one of the thinkers and doers rising above the milieu and pointing the way for a dynamic democracy. Equivalent leaders of his generation, in such areas as economics, quality improvement, religion, and psychology, have finished their work and their legacy lives on in the next generation. Malcolm’s early understanding of the importance of adult learning has provided insight that will guide the professions dedicated to adult learning into the next millennium.

Malcolm S. Knowles, the Father of Andragogy in the United
States, died on November 27, 1997.


Richard A. Swanson, Ed.D., is Professor of Human Resource
Development and Adult Education at the University of Minnesota. He has wide-ranging teaching and consulting experience and has published extensively in the areas of learning and human resource development. He received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Illinois College of Education and has been inducted into both the International Adult and Continuing Education Hall of Fame and the Human Resource Development Scholar Hall of Fame....

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