Adults are the products of their individual histories and experiences, which influence their attitudes, thinking processes, and conceptualizations of their worlds. John Mezirow believed that adults can be “transformed” through a process involving a “disorientating dilemma” followed by critical reflection and new interpretations of experience. Expanding this theory to teaching, the educator must encourage students to examine their personal assumptions, explore other possibilities and test all for validity. Learning comes from the examinations and new idea formulation. The application of critical thinking skills uses this methodology. Many universities are changing the way learning takes place; rather than lecture they are using methods of discovery which yield transformational learning.
Adults approach learning differently than children. While a child may accept an authority figure in the classroom imparting knowledge, the adult is not.