Adult Learning Theories Adult learning theories provide insight into how. What Are Adult Learning Theories? There is no single theory of learning that can be ap-plied to all adults. Indeed, the literature of the past century has yielded a variety of models, sets of as-sumptions and principles, theories, and explanations that make up the adult. Adult Learning Concepts (Malcolm Knowles, et al) One foundation for the transition to active adult learning is found in the adult learning theory of Malcolm Knowles in his studies of how adults learn. There are some similarities in the adult and child classroom, although adults generally have distinctly different motivations to engage in learning.