There are a number of factors involved when considering the approach to teaching adults. Designing a training program for adults requires more sophisticated planning approach. Effective educators need to consider a set of adult learning principles.
Andragogy (adult learning) explains and emphasizes the importance of the process of learning, and not just the content being learned.
We must first understand the assumption that:
1. Adults must want to learn
There has to be a reason to learn, and the learner must understand and want to achieve this. They cannot be forced to learn nor have ideas imposed on them. Viewpoint allows learners to explore the “big picture” of the learning content. This allows the learner to explore different aspects of content and relate it back to the bigger issue/subject of learning.
2. Adults need to learn what they feel they need to learn
It’s important to allow adults to explore and fulfill their unique learning needs. Users are able to access Viewpoint online through the cloud. This means they can learn at any time of day and through multiple devices. The accessibility enables the learner to explore the information at their own pace and they can control the information so they can best absorb it.
3. Adults learn by doing
This style of learning encourages a hands-on approach that may involve problem solving, role-playing situations, or activities that require feedback to continue.
Studies show that only 5% of learning is retained through a lecture, compared to a 75% retention rate for information learned by practice and actually doing. Incorporating problem solving strategies in teaching sessions will result in better information retention by adult learners.
4. Adult learning focuses on problems and the problems must be realistic
It’s beneficial for the educator to use realistic problems – real-world examples will help the learner identify personally with the situation, allowing them to retain more information and stay focused on what they are learning.
5. Experience impacts adult learning
Learners will be influenced by their experiences and previous knowledge during any type of learning session. Adults are not the same type of “blank canvass” as children who are ready to be shaped and molded by elementary school educators. The opinions of the adult learner will heavily influence their understanding of the concepts being taught, as well as the results of any problem or question they are asked.
Viewpoint’s chat and discussion features empower multiple employees to share their experiences and previous understanding when identifying the best practices for certain procedures in their organizations. This type of collaborative approach to learning enables the learners to utilize their experiences in a constructive way.
6. Adults learn best in informal settings
The learning environment influences the level of information retention and attention to the material. An informal setting usually allows for easier flow of discussion. Learning is not a spectator sport. Studies show the more active the learner is involved in the process of learning – the more successful the learning experience.
7. Adults require guidance
During a learning session adults like to improve and expand their knowledge. Their ultimate goal to improve their current situation. Instead of giving employees instructions; try presenting them with options to choose the method of delivery they will learn the content.
When searching for a staff training program, it’s important to remember to consider the needs of the employees learning the content; as well as the needs of the company.
Insightworks has created a training platform that suits the unique needs of the adult learner by combining:
· Organizational development knowledge
· Artistic content presentation solutions
· Application development expertise
Renee Lewis, Account Manager