Book Reviews

Book By: Galbraith, Michael W. (Editor).
Review By: Joyce E. Howland
Mentor/Unit Coordinator, Alfred Unit
Empire State College



Professionals who are serious about improving student learning will find the third edition of Adult Learning Methods: A Guide for Effective Instruction a valuable addition to their bookshelf.  Galbraith has compiled an excellent reference work for educators.  The materials are as relevant to advisors and student services professionals who present information to students individually as it is in the classroom.  Many of these methods and ideas are as relevant to traditional students as they are for the non-traditional learner.

The first section discusses adult student characteristics and needs, educational philosophy, ethical dilemmas, learning and teaching styles as well as instructional design and motivating learners.  Throughout the text, material is scripted so it will be understandable to those new to the field yet valuable for the experienced.  For example, the discussion of instructional design is a helpful introduction to the new teacher, yet also serves to remind the seasoned professional that a periodic review of thought processes used to select and organize presentation material can add excitement and improve delivery.   Not only is the description of possible styles informative, but included instruments can be used to identify the reader’s philosophy of education and preferred teaching styles.  The learning styles chapter is enhanced with a list of appropriate assessment instruments along with suggested Web and print sources for acquisition.

Another section deals with the many different ways to present information, discussing the advantages and challenges of each.    New in this edition are essays on interactive TV, course portfolios, and creating learning communities for the adult learner.   Material covering techniques such as learning contracts, distance learning, case studies, mentorship, demonstration/simulations, and critical thinking are retained from previous editions. 

Unfortunately, not all of the chapter bibliographies have been updated with some bibliographies citing 1988 first edition resources.  Additionally, a few chapters provide only a cursory look at potential difficulties with the teaching method covered.

Overall, this is an excellent reference work.  The new chapter “Enhancing Learning Communities in Cyberspace” has a number of ideas as relevant to an informational presentation or classroom as to the web.  Use of these techniques can improve a presentation to any age student.  The book is worth purchasing for this chapter alone.



Adult Learning Methods: A Guide for Effective Instruction. (2004). Book by Galbraith, Michael W. (Editor). Review by Joyce E. Howland. Melbourne, FL: Krieger Publishing Company. 498 pp. Price $62.50. ISBN 1-57524-232-X.


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