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Vivian Ryals

Adult Learning in Community- Themes and Threads


February 12th, 2016
Presentation Date February 22nd, 2016

Summary
What is a learning community and what is their purpose? Learning communities, also known as
learning spaces, are neutral and owned by the learning community which is also voluntarily
formed outside of the formal educational system. The goals of these communities are to take
control of one's lifes events through the process of learning, where individuals come together
with the intention of bringing diversity, various views, and hopes of establishing relationships.
These learning communities have at least four common themes, the first being adult learners
come together creating a space to congregate while engaging one another. The second theme is
that these communities produce community wisdom and content stemming solely from the lifes
concerns of the members within. Theme three is the learning within the community encourages
citizens to produce local knowledge and the fourth theme is that the learning community may be
a power structure, a force to reckon with. However, there are some barriers that may arise while
trying to do so, which relate to power and or politics. Is this not the case with almost every
relationship, though, with regard to power and politics, especially when you bring a diverse
group of people together? Within these communities situation/issues that they deal with are dealt
with as a community and the people within communities like these instead of focusing on their
individual learning needs, they look at the social nature of cognition and meaning as a
community as a whole.

Social nature of cognition is a term that describes the way individuals with a learning community
encode process, remember, use information, and make meaning of that information in social
contexts in order to reach a goal of making sense of other peoples behavior. As concerns and
situations arise, they are faced head on with wisdom being applied from members within the
community with one focus in mind, which is to improve daily life activities of all involved.
Another way to view it is somewhat of a collaborative collection of lifes concerns between the
members of the community and having one pool of knowledge, filled with a plethora of different
ideas, and views on how to bring a resolve to all of those concerns. They are learning with others
and not learning from one another. While individuals within these learning communities
voluntarily agree to learn about and join together to find resolve for various situations that they
face as a group, it does not happen without great challenge. The challenge, however, comes into
play when you consider the professional practitioners educating the public versus the public, in
this case, educating itself. It has been said that it raises tensions, although the adult educators do
try at the same time to encourage the formation of these communities without interference from
the learning, however, which is also a challenge.
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