HRD 480 - Learning in Adulthood :: Syllabus - Fall, 2007

John Hollenbeck, Ph.D.

Class Time: MW 9:00 AM – 10:15 AM

Office: Memorial Hall 3265E

Class Room: Memorial Hall 7355


Section: 01

Phone: 540 568 3394

Credits: 3

Office Hours:  

Mondays 1:30 PM – 4:00 PM

Thursdays 9:00 AM – 11:30 AM
Others by appointment


Course Overview

Catalog Description: A study of the learning processes of the adult learner with an emphasis on adaptations of the instructional process to accommodate the differences inherent in the adult learning environment. Practical applications to actual adult learning situations are included. Prerequisites: HRD 240 & 245

Course Objectives

This course examines learning theories and instructional principles for adult learners. Students will explore how learning occurs from various learning theories and investigate practical strategies for facilitating adultsí learning. For this, you will have opportunities to design and deliver instructional modules following learning theories in class. Upon completion of this course, you will be able to: a. state the significance of lifelong learning b. critically examine critical issues for adult learning c. explain how learning occurs from various learning theories d. analyze learning situations using appropriate learning theories e. design and deliver instructional programs using learning theories f. develop a plan for continuing your learning after school


Course Requirements

You are expected to attend ALL classes and to complete readings and assignments on time. In addition, you are expected to contribute to your team presentations/papers and class discussions.

Major Assignments and Grading Criteria







Weekly Personal Reflections



Cognition Quiz



Midterm Examination



Final Examination



Assignment 1 – Learning Biography



Assignment 2 – Learner Profile



Assignment 3 – Team Topic Presentation


Part 2

Assignment 4 – Learning Design Document






The grade scale will be as follows:


Above 557


540 – 557


528 – 539


492 – 527


480 ­ 491


468 ­ 479


432 – 467


420 – 431


360 – 419


below 359

Descriptions of Major Assignments

Participation and Personal Weekly Reflections

Students are expected to attend all sessions and to participate in class activities. Absences in class MUST be communicated to the instructor in advance via email and sign-in will be required for all classes. Each student is allowed two absences (either excused or unexcused) from class for the entire semester without penalty to his or her grade. Subsequently, attendance points are reduced by 15 for each absence (out of 30 points). For each absence over four, a student’s final grade will be reduced by one letter grade. For example, if a student earns 540 points (equivalent to an A-) but misses four classes, he or she will receive a B+ as a final grade. The class attendance and participation together will account for a total of 60 points.

Personal Weekly Reflections involve answering questions regarding the assigned readings using a form that posted in Blackboard. These short surveys will be completed on most weeks and will each count 6 points toward your grade to a total of 60 points. Questions will gauge your understanding of the assigned readings and give me a chance to address any misunderstandings.


Exams will test your understanding of definitions, concepts, and theories of learning.

Assignment 1 – Learning Biography

This is an informal two-page history of you as a learner. It should include a description of how you learn best, the environments you favor, and how you prepare for classes. Finally, some comment of your preferred method of evaluation should be included.

Assignment 2 – Learner Profile

This will be a key document for your experience this semester. Develop a picture of the learner you anticipate working with upon your entry into your chosen profession. As with your learning biography, you should develop as complete a picture as possible of whom this person typically will be, including, but not limited to:

Your choice of topics for Assignment 3 will come from this paper, so be as complete as possible. It is suggested that you do field research and/or outside reading if at all possible. The final paper will be three to five pages in length.

Assignment 3 – Team topic report

Based upon assignment 2, you will choose up to three others of like interests to develop a team \. The team will design and deliver one week’s sessions focusing on the application of concepts on your target population. You may choose to conduct a presentation of key points, lead a discussion, and/or develop in-class exercises. Signups for presentation times will take place September 27.

Your team will also read at least two other topics in Part 2 and develop a collaborative final report on the three aspects of adult learning studied. The paper will be a minimum of 5 pages in length. It is expected you will participate in discussions of those areas you read in. Papers due Nov. 20

Assignment 4 – Design of Learning

Based upon your experiences in class, you will develop a design for learning in the area you identified in assignment two. Your final product will take a learning problem and design an educational solution that reflects your theory of adult learning. The design document will include direct references to applicable theories developed in class and in the previous assignments. The paper will be from five to ten pages in length, and you will be asked to present your work during the last week of class.



Submission of Assignments


No Makeup Policy on Tests: There is no makeup on quizzes and exams unless you have unavoidable emergencies and notify the instructor in advance.

Cell Phone Policy: As a courtesy to your classmates, please turn your cell phones down or off during class. This will help avoid disruptions.

Incomplete: An incomplete grade is given only for an exceptional reason such as a death in the family, a serious illness, etc. Any such reason must be documented. Any incomplete request must be made at least two weeks before the final. Any consequences resulting from a poor grade for the course will not be considered as valid reasons for such a request. Courses in which a student receives a grade of “I” must be completed by the end of the next regular semester, or the grade is recorded permanently as “F.” (See the University Calendar for the dates by which grade changes must be reported to the Office of the Registrar) A student seeking a grade of “I’ must make that request to the relevant faculty member before the end of the semester in which that course is taking place (From Undergraduate Catalog, p. 30).

A complete list of dates and deadlines as well as the final exam schedule for spring semester is available at


The Honor Code

(from student handbook 2004-2005, Students shall observe complete honesty in all academic matters. Violations of the Honor Code include, but are not limited to, taking or attempting to take any of the following actions:

**Note: The instructor reserves the right to amend the syllabus at any time during the semester.

Policy on Adding Courses

Students are responsible for registering for classes and verifying their class schedules on 3-campus.
The deadline for adding a Fall Semester class without instructor and academic unit head signatures is Tuesday, September 5, 2007. Instructor and academic unit head signatures are required to add a Fall Semester 2007 class between Wednesday, September 6, 2007 and Thursday, September 14, 2007.
No student will be allowed to register for a Fall Semester class after Thursday, September 14, 2007. No exceptions will be made to these deadlines.


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Last modified Friday, January 5, 2007 9:36 PM

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