Ian Baptiste, Educating Lone Wolves: Pedagogical Implications of Human Capital Theory Adult Education Quarterly. 2001, DOI: 10.1177/074171360105100302
In this 2001 journal article the author introduces, defines, and identifies Human Capital Theory as representing a significant threat to pedagogy generally because the pedagogical practices it encourages are, “apolitical, adaptive, and individualistic.” The author believes human capital theory is dangerous and that educators need to recognize it and, “embrace more socially responsible alternatives.”
The author identifies the target audience for whom the article likely has application in the opening sentence of the article. The author writes, “People who choose adult education as a vocation (Collins, 1991) do so in part because they want to alleviate social maladies such as poverty, income inequality, poor health, environmental pollution, and unsafe habitats. Their commitments are expressed in different ways and in various arenas. Some focus their energies on formal education, others in the workplace.” The scope of this article seemed too narrow as it relates to adult education in the workplace but when applied for example to the context of working with adult learners employed in a medical provider’s office,the adult education specialist empowers the staff to be more effective in support patients who may have the poor health that (Collins, 1991) alludes to. So by extension of the staff the goal of elimination social maladies may be accomplished.
The journal article is very useful in the context of providing the reader with a broader and perhaps deeper perspective of how adult education pedagogy might be/has been influenced by the Human Capital Theory and what the implications might be for the academy if the Human Capital Theory is as pervasive and influential as the author suggests.