Activists as adult learners: are learners, and learning models for union education different?

In the trade union context, the term popular education is often used to describe the learning model. But does the model incorporate what we know about the characteristics of adult learners from the body of adult learning theories? Indeed, we see the popular education model incorporating the work of Knowles, Blooms’ taxonomy, and Freire. In my work, Knowles’ approach is helpful because union education incorporates the importance of creating an emotionally safe and respectful environment, where prior experience is valued. The model also recognizes that adult learners retain more of what has been learned when the learning is experiential.

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