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Facilitating the Adult Learner
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Facilitating the Adult Learner

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Characteristics of the adult learner and how to be an effective facilitator

Characteristics of the adult learner and how to be an effective facilitator

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  • 1. or How To Be An Effective Facilitator Characteristics of the Adult Learner
  • 2. Adult Learner Characteristics
    • Are generally self-directed learners
    • Rely on their personal reservoir of life experience
    • Are ready to learn based on a need
    • Desire knowledge for immediate application
    Adult learners:
  • 3. APPLICATION
    • These four concepts are the basis for developing and facilitating any program, or even reference interview situation.  
    • You must realize that these characteristics exist (to some degree) in every adult learner and that your role is a facilitator of learning.
    • Your task is to provide the information on the subject at hand in a manner that the learner can comprehend the new information to create new knowledge.
    First:
  • 4. APPLICATION
    • The facilitator must also be a learner.
    • You must learn who the learner is that you are trying to help, learn the subject well enough to enlighten the learner, learn the process of assessing the learner’s comprehension level, and learn empathy for the learner.
    • You must “...remember what it’s like not to know.” (Richard Saul Wurman, Information Anxiety, 1989).
    Second:
  • 5. APPLICATION
    • The facilitator must be well organized and thoroughly familiar with the subject to present the information in a logical and progressive manner - first concepts first, etc.
    • The facilitator must be able to respond to the learner like a “hyperlink” and go where the learner wants to go as they get new information.
    • Allowing the adult learner to explore the boundaries of his/her knowledge is part of the learning process.
    Third:
  • 6. APPLICATION
    • You must assess the basis of knowledge that the learner brings to the learning situation.
    • What learning style does the learner employ?
    • In what depth of comprehension of the subject is the learner interested?
    • Learning is like a journey - you have to know where you are and where you want to be in order to determine the best route to get there.
    Fourth:
  • 7. APPLICATION
    • The expectations of facilitator and learner are different because they are approaching the learning situation from totally different perspectives.
    • The facilitator must understand the learner’s expectations and adjust his/her own expectations to better fulfill the needs of the learner.
    • Fulfilling the learner’s expectations keeps the learner’s interest, solicits more investment by the learner in the learning process, and often leads to achieving higher expectations than originally set by the learner.
    Fifth:
  • 8. Points to Ponder
    • People “... learn most effectively when they are responding to challenges that they know will directly and significantly affect their lives.” Malcolm S. Knowles
    • “ I acknowledge the wisdom and inventiveness of those teacher trainers...who...have endeavored to help me learn that teaching is not (only) talking and that learning is not (merely) listening.” Robert A. Luke