Tip #214: Adult Learning Principles in Action #1

We are going to look at five key categories of adult learning principles, beginning with the first three. The information that is not in bold print provides an example of the principle in action.

1. Obtain Learner Buy-In.

a. Adults learn because they see the value of the training content to their lives.
There is an initial activity that helps participants see the value of the training

b. Adults learn best when practical application is encouraged.
The usefulness of the learning in the participants’ lives is emphasized and demonstrated.

c. Adults learn best in an informal atmosphere.
The instructor creates a safe and respectful learning environment.

2. Build On What The Learners Know.

a. Adults bring a wealth of experience that must be acknowledged and respected in the training setting.
There are activities that enable the participants to indicate and/or demonstrate their level of experience and expertise.

b. Adults learn and retain information more easily if they can relate it to their reservoir of past experiences.
Good examples and stories are provided that connect new learning to the participants’ prior learning and experience.

3. Engage The Learners.

a. Adults have a need to be self-directing and take a leadership role in their learning.
There is an activity that enables participants to indicate their learning goals, and/or participants are given choices to select activities or content that is relevant to their interests and needs.

b. Adults are more likely to believe something if they arrive at the idea themselves.
There are activities that enable the learners to discover important information on their own.

c. Adults have ideas to contribute.
There are activities that enable the participants to contribute ideas.

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