eLearning and training in general presents a different set of challenges when it comes to adult learning. Adult learners do not have the same learning base as children and teens do. Because of this we need to deal with them differently. At the same time, motivating these learners presents an entirely different challenge. On top of this is the resistance to change that accompanies most people as they age.
How do Adult Learners Differ?
- Adults are more self directed learners. They prefer to direct themselves versus being directed.
- Providing adult learners an opportunity to maintain a personal goal sheet that helps them keep track of their progress. This information is paramount to keeping their interest.
- Unlike younger learners, adult learners bring a base of knowledge to their learning that is based on their experience. Recognizing this knowledge base allows companies to acknowledge this experience and make it part of the learning process.
- Goals are far more defined in adult learners. However, if you define a class in terms of what goals the adult learner can achieve as a result of the training you will have greater participation.
- Adults seek learning opportunities that are relevant and practical to their work. Increase participation by orienting training towards those experiences.
- Whether you’re offering instructor led or self learning opportunities you must be aware that the learner (an adult) brings experience and opinions to the training.
- Adults tend to focus on areas most useful to their job. Correspondingly, facilitators or consultants need to make use of this information when planning any professional development.
- Adults attach more meaning to the type of learning they gain from hands-on experience. Thus, the primary learning technique for adult education is experiential.
Understanding adult learning patterns provides an opportunity for greater participation among staff and management teams. Give these learners the opportunity to apply whatever physical and mental skills they gain today to living more advantageously tomorrow. In doing so you enrich their lives, and your team.