Adult Learning Theories: an Introduction


If you are considering this course, it is likely because you are a theological educator who spends a great deal of time teaching adults. This is not an easy task.

Adult learning requires some fresh understanding of “what I need to know” about adults and their learning. First, the teacher takes the time to trace one’s biography of learning.  Second, since teaching is actually facilitating the process of learning, the teacher should understand how adults learn and how they learn best. And so, this course introduces the core principles of adult learning drawn from the theories of Knowles, Kolb, Mezirow, and Freire.  The way to benefit from this course is to bring our own questions and experiences on adult learning.

This course is for those engaged in teaching theology to adults in both formal and non-formal settings.   

Course Outcomes

At the end of this course, participants should have been oriented to the core principles of adult learning theories of Knowles,  Kolb, Freire and Mezirow, shifted teaching philosophy to a learner-centered approach and appreciated and begun to apply the principles of these theories to practice.

Course content
  • Who are the adult learners?  The critically reflective teacher
  • What is experiential learning? What is the process of learning? (Kolb)
  • What is transformative learning? (Mezirow, Gorman)
  • What is the dialogical method of teaching? (Freire and Vella)


This course is authored by Dr. Joanna Feliciano-Soberano. Joanna is Academic Dean and Faculty, Asian Theological Seminary,  Manila Philippines and OC Regional Director for South-east Asia. Her main expertise is in the field of teaching and learning.

Delivery mode

This is a self-paced online course.


10 hours of learning.

ICETE Academy points

10 points.

Completion requirements

You will need to complete the learning sections, produce a learning biography, design an adult learning experience, and write a brief reflective paper.

Course enrolment key


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