Ever since the 19th century, when education was first standardized, learning in popular imagination is highly connected to age. The school system, back then and now, is modeled after a factory – people get education in batches, based on their date of manufacture. If you were manufactured seven years ago, that means it’s time to learn the multiplication table, for instance. And if you are ten and you still have not mastered the table, you are reshuffled to the un-smart batch. Perfect logic. Except the lives of many successful people proved it wrong. They mastered a skill at an older age. They are late bloomers. Late bloomers are people who achieved proficiency in some skill later than they are normally expected to. The key word is “expected.” The It’s Never Too Late to Learn Infographic presents famous late bloomers who managed to succeed late in life and how they did it.
Famous Late Bloomers
- Joseph Conrad (English Writer): Until 20 Joseph spoke no English at all
- Paul Cezanne (Painter): Until 20 never painted
- Rocky Marciano (Undefeated boxer): Until 20 never boxed
- J.K. Rowling (Writer): Until 23 taught school
- Sylvester Stallone (Actor): Until 24 only had adult film roles
- Vincent Van Gogh (Painter): Until 27 did not paint, only drew
- Alan Rickman (Actor): Until 28 had no film roles
- Reid Hoffman (Startup Entrepreneur): Until 30 never started companies
- Julia Child (The French Chef): Until 30 knew no French cuisine
- Martha Stewart (Home Decorator): Until 35 did no home decorating
Dave Mc Cure (Angel Investor): Until 40 did no investing
- Momofuku Ando (Instant noodle inventor): Until 48 sold salt, was in jail
- Grandma Moses (Painter): Until 78 never painted
- Fauja Singh (Marathon Runner): Until 89 though marathons were 26 kilometres
Learning something late in life might sound like a bad deal if you compare yourself to all the young talented folk. Understandable. The catch is that doing something earlier does not necessarily make you better at it than if you did it later. Could you say that Stallone is a worse actor than actors who started in their teens? Was Julia Child a worse cook just because she started cooking at 30? With Fauja Singh it’s even easier – just finishing the marathon at all he already wins.
The Adult Learning Theory – Andragogy – Infographic explores Malcolm Knowles’ Adult Learning Theory, Knowles’ 5 Assumptions of Adult Learners, and the 4 Principles of Andragogy.
Also, I highly encourage you to read The Adult Learning Theory – Andragogy – of Malcolm Knowles article.
You may also find valuable the 9 Tips To Apply Adult Learning Theory to eLearning. In this article I’ll discuss how Knowles’ 5 adult learning theory assumptions can be translated to modern day eLearning experiences, so that you can integrate the 4 principles of Andragogy into your eLearning course for maximum learner engagement and motivation.
Last but not least, I highly encourage you to Join us at the Instructional Design History Journey
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Community of scholars: lifelong learning needs lifetime readers' tickets
Offering library access to alumni and independent researchers helps to keep a university at the heart of its community, says Susan Gibbons
A characteristic that universities strive to instil in their students is the will to learn throughout their lives. In the US, universities often act on this mission by designing programmes that focus on their most senior alumni. In later life, former students may be invited to live near or on campus and attend classes, or join cultural excursions around the world. But why should alumni have to wait? Lifelong learning should begin at graduation and extend throughout a lifetime, rather than being confined to one's retirement years.
But when students leave university, a tough dose of reality awaits when they discover that so many of the scholarly resources they once took for granted had been provided, almost magically, by the university library. In gaining their diploma, graduating students often lose their passport to a rich world of high-quality research information. Without access to the millions of digital journal articles and electronic books offered by the university library, the web as a research tool can seem quite diminished.
Historically, public libraries would take the baton from university libraries and provide research services to their community. But today, fiscal realities compel many of them to focus more on the most pressing community needs, such as literacy programmes, and less on medium- to high-level research enquiries from the community. Independent research enquiry, when not affiliated to an academic institution, has become extremely difficult to carry out. But if the baton of lifelong learning cannot be passed on, university libraries are doing their alumni a great disservice if they allow it to drop at graduation.
Recently, Jstor, a digital archive of more than 1,000 major academic journals, has piloted an alumni-access programme that allows 19 institutions, including Yale University and the universities of London and Exeter in the UK, to bring the collection to alumni worldwide at a reasonable cost. For our alumni, access to the collection is free. The response has been tremendous. When programmes such as this are combined with collaborations between university libraries and alumni offices, it becomes possible to build a virtual alumni library that can support an entire lifetime of learning.
At the same time, many universities are also vastly expanding public access to their own collections via the web. At Yale, individuals around the world have free online access to images of millions of objects housed in our museums, archives and libraries. But, as we must continue to remind all who will listen, not everything has been put on the web and the physical collections of a university library are still essential, irreplaceable research tools.
So while a university library cannot bring its physical collections to alumni spread across the world, it can open its doors, perhaps just a bit wider, to the community that surrounds it. As universities strive to become more a part of, rather than apart from, the community, they should see their libraries as essential to the local intellectual commons. The main floor of Yale's Sterling Memorial Library, rich with reference materials and periodicals, is open to the public during the day and we host talks, exhibits and other activities that serve the local community. Our medical library has built lasting partnerships with teachers and students at a local public high school.
A university library must first serve the needs of its students and researchers, and sometimes this mission can exhaust its limited resources. But where possible, local community-based commitments can be woven together to provide a scaffolding for lifelong learning that complements the role of public libraries and helps to meet the research demands of independent scholars of all ages living in those communities. Richard Levin, Yale's president, has said that the future of a university is inextricably tied to the strength of its hometown. A community of lifelong learners is a strong one.
Academic libraries cannot do everything. They rely on their universities' explicit support and resources - but the investment is smart. Universities rely on alumni to be their ambassadors, and the provision of services that keep them connected both generates goodwill and equips them to be more effective on behalf of their alma mater. The ivory towers are imaginary: the academy cannot separate itself from the fate of its local community, its alumni, or wider society. "The library is the heart of the university" is the inscription that greets visitors to our main library. Increasingly, we hope, it will also beat strongly for lifelong learners in our hometown, among our alumni, and in the global community.
Susan Gibbons is university librarian at Yale University.