1. Understanding Adult Learning Principles Can Lead to More Effective Training

Did you know that adults as learners have special needs? When we were kids, we would go to school, sit through class every day, and our teachers would teach everyone almost the same way. It didn’t matter whether you were a kinesthetic, visual, or auditory learner. However, adults have their unique requirements which professionals in education and training should understand for the adult learning principles process to be effective.

If you’re an instructor or professional in the education field, we’re going to look at an overview of adult learning principles to help you understand why and how adults learn. This way, you can tailor your training to be more effective.


2. Adults are Self-Directed and the Adult Learning Principles

Adults are not like kids; they’ll want to decide what, how, when, and how to learn. Therefore, as an instructor, you should get them involved in the learning process as much as possible. One way you can do this is by asking them what they know about a particular topic and what they’re interested in learning.

This will help you understand why they are there. The second thing you can do is share your agenda and ask for suggestions. This may lead to a few switches around the learning process. You may find yourself spending more time on one topic and less on another.

Do your research on the group’s needs, so that you can offer information that meets those needs. Also, act as a facilitator to guide the group and encourage them to reach their own conclusions rather than feeding them information forcefully in a lecture format.


3. Adults Have Lots of Life Experiences

As an instructor, adult learners are a valuable resource because they come with lots of life experiences. It’s also crucial for them to connect the learning to those experiences. Therefore, don’t assume that they know nothing. Give them a chance to use their existing experience and knowledge.

For instance, where suitable, ask the adult learners to share their experiences and come up with activities that will call on them to use these experiences. adult learning principles include creating activities that involve choice, so that the learning process fits your learners individually.






4. Adult Learners Look for Relevance

It’s vital to adults that what they’re learning is relevant and can be applied in various areas of life, whether it’s in their work or personal lives. They have to see why and how what they’re learning is important to them. How can you make topics relevant to the learners?

One, identify learning goals and ask the learners to share theirs. Second, discuss and ask your learners to share your topic’s real-world applications. Third, avoid being too theoretical in your presentations. By including practicals in the learning process, the learners will realise how relevant a certain topic is to their daily lives.

5. Adults are Motivated by Various Factors

When we were kids, most of us were motivated by rewards and punishments. Adults have different motivating factors some of them which are: it’s a job requirement, to make new friends, to further our careers, to learn for fun, to relieve boredom, etc.

As an instructor, seek to find out the reasons why they want to learn. Ask them why they have come and what they hope to gain from the whole experience. Also, try your best to know the barriers to their learning such as finances, time constraints, relationships issues, childcare issues, and others. Understanding their motivations and barriers will help you identify how best to educate them.


6. They Want to be Respected

As an instructor, you should treat your adult learners respectfully, sensitively, and without judging. If you’re discussing sensitive issues, create a safe space that enhances confidentiality, and allow learners to pass if they don’t feel comfortable talking about it.

Also, treat them like grownups by allowing them to voice their opinions and share in class leadership. If you treat adults like kids, you may create an environment that doesn’t favor learning.

7. Adults are Practical-Oriented

The most important thing for adult learners is applying what they’ve learnt in their personal or work lives. To make the learning more practical, always use real-world examples to show the connection between theory and practical applications.

Videos can help here greatly. Also, you can incorporate problem-solving as part of learning, following up with coaching to help learners connect learning to daily practices, and create an experiential environment that supports learning.

The above is just an overview of the various adult learning principles. If you’re an instructor or you offer training services, follow them and you’ll create an effective learning experience.


By Ken Walker

Hi, I'm Ken. I am the owner and senior director of Syncretic training Group Pty Ltd. If you have any questions about the website content or require guidance please let us know we are always happy to help.

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