Characteristics of Adult Learners
Their self-concept moves from being a
dependent personality toward one of
being a self-directing person.
They accumulate a growing reservoir of
experience that becomes a foundation
and a resource in their learning.
Their readiness to learn becomes
increasingly oriented to the
developmental tasks of their social roles
Their time perspective changes,
they need to see the immediate
application of the knowledge not a
future use or application of the
Their reason to learn changes from
external motivators to internal
Assumptions about Adult Learning
1.Adults need to know why they need to
2. Adults need to learn experientially
3. Adults approach learning as problem-solving
4. Adults learn best when the topic is of
5. Adult view learning is an active
process in the construction of meaning
The Laws of Learning
The Law of Doing
Students don't learn as the result of
what trainers do, but as the result of
what trainers get them to do. This
basic principle is equally important for
students and trainers to understand.
The student who expects to learn by
simply sitting back and listening is
likely to be disappointed
The Law of Effect
People tend to accept and repeat
responses that are pleasant and
satisfying, and to avoid those that are
annoying. If an adult finds that he is
learning to read and enjoying the
process as well, he will tend to keep
returning to class. In short, "nothing
succeeds like success".
The Law of Exercise
The more often an act is repeated,
the more quickly a habit is
established. Practice makes perfect -
if the practice is the right kind.
Practicing the wrong thing will
become a habit too, one which is
hard to break. The tutor should be
sure that her students are performing
a skill correctly.
The Law of Primacy
First impressions are the most
lasting. This means that those first
lessons are all-important. The tutor
should arouse interest, provide
subject matter that meets the
student's needs, and help him to
learn it correctly the first time
Nine Principles of Adult Learning
Motivation – Participants must want
to learn, they must be ready to learn
and there must be some reason to
Factors to be considered for Motivation:
The material must be meaningful and worthwhile
to the participant, not only to the trainer.
Not only must the participants be motivated, so
must the trainer. If the trainer isn’t motivated,
learning probably won’t take place.
As mentioned under Appropriateness the trainer
sometimes needs to identify a need for the
participants to be there. Trainers can usually
create motivation by telling the participants that
this session can fill that need.
Move from known to the unknown. Start the
session at a point the participants are familiar with.
Gradually build up and link points together so that
everyone knows where they are expected to go in
the learning process.
The things that participants learn first
are usually learnt best so the first
impressions or pieces of information
that participants get from the trainer
are really important. For this reason,
it’s good practice to include all of the
key points at the beginning of the
Factors to be considered for Primacy:
Again keep sessions to a relatively short period of
time; twenty minutes is about right as suggested
with the law of Recency.
The beginning of your session will be important as
you know that most of the participants will be
listening; so make it interesting and put lots of
important information into it.
Keep the participants fully aware of the direction
and progress of their learning.
Ensure that participants get things right the first
time you require them to do something.
2-way Communication –
The training process involves
communication with the participants, not at
Factors to be considered for 2-way
Your body language is also included in 2-
way communication: make sure it matches
what you’re saying.
Your session plan should have interactions
with the participants designed into it.
Informs both the facilitator and the
participant need information from
each other. The facilitator needs to
know that the participants are
following and keeping pace and the
participants need feedback on the
standard of their performance.
Factors to be considered for
Trainees should be tested frequently for
When trainees are tested they must get
feedback on their performance as soon as
Testing can also include the trainer asking
frequent questions of the group.
All feedback doesn’t have to be positive, as
some people believe. Positive feedback is
only half of it, and is almost useless without
When a participant does or says
something right, acknowledge it (in
front of the group if possible.)
Prepare your presentations so that
there is positive reinforcement built
into it at the very beginning.
Look for someone doing it right as
well as always looking for someone
doing it wrong.
Participants learn more when they are actively
involved in the process.
Factors to be considered about Action
Use practical exercises during the instruction
Use plenty of questions during the instruction
A quick quiz may be used to keep the participants
If at all possible get the participants to do what
they are being instructed in.
If the participants are kept sitting for long periods
without any participation or questions being asked
of them it’s possible for them to nod off or lose
interest in the session.
Multiple-sense learning – Learning is far more
effective if the participants use more than one of
their five senses.
Factors to be considered about Multiple-sense
If you tell participants about something, try to show
them as well
Use as many of the participants’ senses as
necessary for them to learn, but don’t get carried
When using Multiple-sense learning make sure
that the sense selected can be used. Ensure that
it’s not difficult for the group to hear, see and touch
whatever it is you want them to.
Things that are repeated are best
Factors to be considered about
The more we get trainees to repeat
something the more likely they are to
retain the information.
By asking frequent questions we are
encouraging exercise or overlearning.
The participants must perform the exercise
themselves; but taking notes doesn’t count.
Summarize frequently as this is another
form of exercise. Always summarize at the
conclusion of a session.
Get the participants to recall frequently
what has been covered so far in the
The law of Exercise also includes giving
participants exercises to carry out.
Pitfalls of Training Adults
Don’t treat adults like a children.
Ensure that the Adults you’re teaching want to
Ensure that Adults feel there is a need to learn
before you teach them.
Don’t throw statistics and facts at adult learners.
They are goal-oriented and opportunity driven,
not statistically driven.
Use their experience to help out their learning.
Adults learn best in informal environments, and
pleasant social atmospheres