Understanding adult learning principles
Having knowledge of how adults learn will assist you in becoming a better trainer. Although you may have preconceived notions about specific learners, most adults bring similar perceptions to a training session.
The following statements are relevant to the adult learning process:
- Adults bring considerable experience with them – they wish to speak, participate, and contribute; they dislike lectures; they desire to maintain self-esteem.
- Adults have a “here-and-now” viewpoint – they want to focus on current issues, not so much on material that may be useful in the future.
- Adults are accustomed to being active – they become restless if their time is being wasted; they prefer to be involved in activities.
- Adults are accustomed to being self-directing – they want the instructor to provide involvement, rather than be too directive.
For training to be effective, the training must acknowledge and accommodate certain principles when presenting to adult learners. To ensure success:
- Involve your attendees in the learning process and allowing them to talk about themselves, as appropriate, to apply the learning content.
- Allow trainees to learn by doing.
- Have trainees apply and practice learned skills in the learning environment.
- Help trainees draw their own conclusions.
- Avoid telling trainees all of the answers.