A Close-up on Adult Learning and Developmental Diversity

Eleanor Drago-Severson

in The Oxford Handbook of Reciprocal Adult Development and Learning

Second edition

Published in print September 2011 | ISBN: 9780199736300
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

A Close-up on Adult Learning and Developmental Diversity

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  • Developmental Psychology



This mixed-methods research, funded by the National Center for the Study of Adult Learning and Literacy (NCSALL) and part of a larger study (Kegan et al., 2001), examined the internal experiences of learning and change of 19 Adult Basic Education/English for Speakers of Other Languages (ABE/ESOL) learners enrolled in an Adult Diploma Program. Employing a constructive-developmental perspective, this chapter explores how adults with different developmental orientations understood their experiences in a cohort and collaborative learning groups as powerful supports to academic learning, emotional well-being, and perspective broadening. Specifically, this investigation focuses on how constructive-developmental theory (Kegan 1982, 1994, 2000) informs learners’ experiences of program features and practices. Also, the chapter illuminates a new kind of diversity, developmental diversity, and discusses how it can help educators a) enrich pedagogical practices, b) structure learning activities to address the multiple needs of adults at different skill and developmental levels, and c) create classroom designs that better facilitate adult growth and learning.

Keywords: ABE/ESOL; adult education; adult learning; cohort; cohort learning; Kegan’s constructive-developmental theory; developmental diversity; transformational learning

Article.  21726 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Developmental Psychology

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