Adult Learning Basics

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Information about Adult Learning Basics

Published on January 31, 2014

Author: cmcarman



Adult Learning Basics was created to assist in training SME's to become familiar with how adults learn, and what they can do to improve their training skills.

Basics of Adult Learning and Effective Communication 1

Objective: Describe the components of adult learning  Basic adult learning principals  Learning styles  Engaging your audience Objective: Identify ways to reach your audience • Target audience demographics • Knowledge and literacy levels • Effective communication techniques 2

     Identify the Adult learning Principals and Styles Tools to Teach Engage Participants Know your Audience Effective Communication 3

Andragogy:  Process of helping adults learn  Focused on the learner, not on the teacher 4

 Adults learn differently from children  Adults require different training approaches  Effective instruction = understanding how adults learn best 5

 Self-directed  Have more life experiences and knowledge  Need the material to be relevant  Practical 6

Keep in mind:  Learning is a continual process  People learn at different speeds Remember to:  Enhance the learning experience  Decrease barriers that keep adults from learning 7

Principle: Adults bring a wealth of knowledge and experience which they want to share. Technique: Encourage participants to share their knowledge and experiences. Include activities that utilize their expertise. 8

Principle: Adults are decision makers and self – directed learners. Technique: Include problem solving activities. 9

Principle: Adults have different learning styles that must be respected. Technique: Provide multiple ways for participants to learn the material. 10

Principle: Adults want to participate rather than just listen to a lecture. Technique: Create a participatory learning environment with various types of activities. 11

Principle: Adults are motivated by information or tasks that are meaningful and applicable to their jobs. Technique: Relate the content and skills to the participants’ jobs. 12

Principle: Adults prefer training that focuses on reallife problems. Technique: Relate content to problems that participants encounter in their jobs. 13

Principle: Adults expect their time during the training to be used carefully. Technique: Follow a realistic time schedule. 14

Principle: Adults feel anxious when participating in a group that makes them look uninformed, either professionally or personally. Technique: Avoid criticism. Acknowledge all contributions by participants. 15

Principle: Adults learn best in a positive environment where they feel confident and respected. Technique: Create a positive environment by providing positive feedback and showing respect to all participants. 16

Principle: Adults come from different cultures, life styles, religious preferences, and backgrounds. Technique: Respect all differences and encourage participants to respect each other as well. 17

Visual Auditory Kinesthetic Observing Listening Speaking Practicing Touching 18





   10% of what we see 30-40% of what we see & hear 90% of what we see, hear & DO!  Everyone learns from all three styles, but one usually dominates  Training should involve all 3 styles 23

Use a blend of training methods and materials to reach the greatest number of learners.       Interactive Lectures Discussions Exercises Presentations Manuals / Handouts Videos 24

Transference Motivation Retention Reinforcement 25

     Create participatory learning situations Use a variety of presentation styles, media, exercises and activities to keep interest Change pace and / or activity every 30 minutes Change seating arrangements Use examples that participants can relate to their jobs 26

    Encourage participants to contribute their experiences Use humor when appropriate Allow for differences of opinion Keep participants alert 27

       Interactive Lectures Group Discussion Group exercise Role Play Quizzes Using Questions Energizers 28

   Participants practice using new knowledge and skills in simulated exercise Exercises can be scripted or improvised Follow up discussion 29

    Use quizzes to reinforce learning Help to keep participants involved, engaged and interested Add variety to presentation Can be a game or challenge 30

There are 3 types of questions: Close – ended Open – ended Probing 31

     Generate short, finite answers (yes / no) Do not encourage discussion Limit what participant says Gain a final answer, conclusion or confirmation Examples: ◦ Is it X…? ◦ Have you ever…? 32

    Generate descriptive answers Encourage discussion and participation Promote sharing of experiences and knowledge Examples: ◦ How can you…? ◦ What are some ways…? ◦ Why would you want to…? 33

   A probing question is an open-ended followup question intended to elicit a thoughtful answer. Allows for a deeper dive into the subject. Examples: ◦ What did you mean by xxx? ◦ Why do you think this is the case? ◦ What would have to change in order for…? 34

      Maintain a deliberate silence Repeat or rephrase the question Use body language / eye contact Encourage answers Give examples Answer the question yourself 35

 Energizer: a short, fun activity that breaks up periods of concentrated learning ◦ Can be a physical activity ◦ May not be related to the training topic 36

Type of Energizer How it Engages Participant Physical Maintains energy and attention (especially after lunch) Team Building Builds rapport Educational Reinforce content and assess learning Mental Provides a problem to solve Fun Highlights special skill or talent 37

Consider: Avoid Energizers that: Cultural / Organizational context Cause embarrassment Participant backgrounds and expectations Provoke disagreement Training goals Disrupt flow of learning Time constraints Take too long Room layout / number of participants 38

    Design training to meet participants needs Choose the right participants Omit content not relevant to the audience Define technical terms as needed 39

       Experience Skills Job / Position Education Knowledge New responsibilities Training needs 40

   What are their goals of attending? What are their learning styles? What tools do they need to succeed? 41

   Use a “get-to-knowyou” exercise or ice breaker Use a pre-assessment form or quiz Ask participants to share their expectations of the course 42

    Voice Eye Contact Listen Body Language 43

       Sets the tone of the presentation or training Shows enthusiasm Encourages participation Provides positive reinforcement Project your voice & vary your pitch Speak at the audience’s technical level Use a comfortable and friendly tone 44

  Shows you are interested in the topic and the audience Find out: ◦ Are participants engaged? ◦ Is there understanding? 45

    Use pauses to allow participants to ask questions and respond with comments Listen to what participants are saying / asking Always repeat questions from participants for all to hear and for clarity of the question Use silence to help manage the training 46

   Facial expression should be warm, friendly and enthusiastic Use hands naturally while speaking ◦ Keep hands out of pockets Move around the room ◦ Provides variety ◦ Helps to ease anxiety 47

Basics of Adult Learning and Effective Communication 48

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