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Adult Learning

Adults are autonomous and self-directed. They need to be free to direct themselves. Training must actively involve adult participants in the learning process.

Adults have accumluated a foundation of life experiences and knowledge that may include work-related activities, family responsibilities and previous education. They need to connect learning to this knowledge/experience base.

Adults are goal-oriented. Training must relate to attainable and desirable goals.

Adults are relevancy-oriented. Learning has to be applicable to their work or other responsibilities to be of value to them. Therefore, trainers must identify objectives for adult participants before instruction begins.

Adults are practical, focusing on the aspects of a lesson most useful to them in their work. They may not be interested in knowledge for its own sake. Trainers must tell participants explicitly how the lesson will be useful to them on the job.

As do all learners, adults need to be shown respect. Trainers must acknowledge the wealth of experiences that adult participants bring to the learning environment. These adults should be treated as equals in experience and knowledge and allowed to voice their opinions freely.

Adult Learning