Critical Thinking and Adult Education
The need to improve the quality of education offered in various learning institutions has over the years led to the development of different strategies that require the upgrading of facilities and learning techniques. Notably, the primary component of improving learning and teaching techniques is by ensuring that the students understand the importance of critical thinking both in the education and real-life perspectives. In learning business administration, the concept of critical thinking among adults helps in both idea generation and boosting the level of creativity. Additionally, adult education programs in tertiary institutions involve systematic and self-sustained learning activities that by the gaining of new knowledge, attitudes and skills that can help in solving both personal and community challenges. Thus this study will evaluate different concepts of critical thinking and adult education and how they affect skills necessary for business administration.
Approaches to Critical Thinking Skills in Business Administration
According to Knowles et al., (2014) the concept of critical thinking in academic terms is connected to different forms of measurable outcomes such as the writing of good essays and proper presentation of research findings. In business administration, critical thinking incorporates the ability to identify, measure and analyze situations that may adversely affect the performance of a profitable institution or limit its contribution to the society. Essentially, the concept of critical thinking among adults can be measured in two ways including the generalized and specific thinking skills. The former notes that thinking can be developed using particular methods that are not contextual and can, therefore, grow steadily and allowing room for flexibility. Furthermore in applying these methods in their daily lives will aid in developing specific patterns that will allow the acquisition of desirable outcomes
Adult Learning and Thinking Skills
With the increased dynamism in both the education and business sectors, many countries have resorted to changing learning curriculum for young learners to increase their effectiveness and to reduce confusion in the application of teaching methods. However, adult education has been ignored and little changes have been recorded on the same. Over the last two decades, most tertiary learning institutions including colleges and universities have experienced an increase in the number of mature learners. Understandably, this population has been characterized by lack of different skills required in various courses such as business administration.
According to the theory of adult learning, unlike children, adults do not need directions in applying their thinking abilities based on both education and life experiences. Furthermore, although most of them show critical thinking abilities, seeking education helps them in repositioning themselves with the changing aspects of the society. On the contrary, Heinrich et al., (2015) suggest that some of the mature learners felt that they needed directions to cope with the modern learning frameworks as it involves the understanding of the new concepts and methods used to approach particular challenges. He further notes that any individual undergoing adult learning needs to pass through five stages to start understanding what critical thinking in business administration entails and additional two stages to apply these practices. Importantly, Heinrich et al., (2015) assess that it is important to implement additional mechanisms other than problem-solving skills that will ensure that mature learners cross learning boundaries and being aware of what it entails to develop critical thinking skills.
Knowles et al., (2014) concludes that self-directed learning utilizes critical thinking skills and nature them to be able to relate their performance and those of young students. Notably, people begin to develop these skills when they learn to think more about self-development and to gather, synthesize and analyze everything presented to them. Moreover, education involves understanding and relating the learned concepts and deciding the best approach to consider in problem solving. Knowles et al., (2014) also elaborates that critical thinking is a reflective process and that reasonable thinking is focused on how adults relate to different situations rather than the methods they use in implementing the approach.
Implementing the concept of critical thinking in business administration, adult learners have to relate the experiences, critical reflection of the entire course and the communicative aspect of business. Since learning is a continuous process, linking the changing aspects of the corporate world and the lessons in business administration as a course, adult learners have to understand what critical thinking entails and how it can be applied.
Considering the increase in the need to sharpen the already existing skills most adults are going back to tertiary institutions including universities. However, the development of critical thinking skills particularly in business administration requires comprehension of both the dynamics of the industry and the emerging trends. Equally, business administration as a course requires psychological focus rather than philosophical so as to link both the body and the mind in evaluating and analyzing a particular concept. It is therefore important for learning institutions to develop programs that build life skills of mature learners in an academic environment. However, the application of these concepts will require personal dispositions and the willingness to develop new ideas.
Heinrich, W. F., Habron, G. B., Johnson, H. L., & Goralnik, L. (2015). Critical thinking assessment across four sustainability-related experiential learning settings. Journal of Experiential Education, 38(4), 373-393.
Knowles, M. S., Holton III, E. F., & Swanson, R. A. (2014). The adult learner: The definitive classic in adult education and human resource development. Routledge.