Chapter 2 Hedonic and Eudiamonic Approaches to Adult Learning

Promoting Flourishing in the Adult Student

In: Adults in the Academy: Voices of Lifelong Learners
Lori A. Doan
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Amy E. De Jaeger
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When adult learners intersect with other non-traditional characteristics, challenges to academic success are compounded. Social, emotional, and psychological environments are integral components of conducive learning environments and key motivators for adult students (Sogunro, 2015). Positive psychology applied within educational settings focuses on environment and student well-being as critical components of the learning processes (Norrish et al., 2013). Although there have been multiple studies examining positive psychology in elementary and secondary education, this has received less attention in higher education and little attention when considering adult learners. This chapter will examine the intersection between higher education culture and the social, emotional, and psychological environments generated for adult learners. A reflective case study approach will describe how these contexts influenced our own educational journeys as two female adult students. Our stories will demonstrate how slight contextual shifts within our academic experience would have removed the obstacles we faced as adult students. Our narrative, situated within the positive psychology literature, highlights changes to higher education culture that will foster adult student success.

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