The Adult Learner by Cathy Abraham Credit to: PA Pathways training manual
Ask/Think about: “What is learning?”; “What is the learning process?”; “What is the difference between teaching and learning?”
How can learning be measured?
Seeing value in what they are learning is critical…. I.e. “buy in”. Basically, adults want and need to be treated as adults. Similarities in learning in children and adults?
Acknowledge and respect the knowledge and experiences of adult learners. Activity: If using this as a training, in small groups, have participants list what kinds of things adults want to know about what they are going to learn.
How/What/Why Think about it from your own perspective…. Isn’t this what you want to know going into a learning situation?
Ever know anyone that has quit learning and growing? Ever know someone “older” that embraces learning new things? Activity: If presenting this as a training, in small groups, have participants make a list of specific things that people think are important to adult learners.
How can you link what you are teaching to real-life experiences? (What do we all like to get from a conference… things we can take back and immediately use!) If learners can make connections to the concepts you are presenting this ensures a higher degree of understanding and retention. Adult learners want information that they can use. Also… if they can relate what you are saying to life experiences that they’ve had, the concepts you are presenting will make sense to them. Encourage learners to relay connections they’ve made. Real-life stories are remembered longer by learners.
How can you give staff members/learners some control over the learning process? When people have input, you will get more “buy in.” It conveys respect when participants have some say in the process.
Learners rely on their frame of reference. (Sometimes when people are resistant to classes or training it is based on their previous experiences – school was not a positive experience for everyone.) How can you draw from participant’s past experiences? Incorporating the experiences and knowledge of participants conveys respect for what they know and their skills. Often adult learners have much to offer, building upon what is being covered.
How can you involve learners? (How much did you learn from college instructors that simply lectured?) We know this concept to be true with children! Asking questions and involving participants will assist you in assessing how much information they are understanding and retaining. Activities also “break up” training… and can make it fun. Breaking up into small groups for activities encourages the socialization process, and will solicit participation from some learners that may not speak up in the larger group.
How can you create an atmosphere of comfort, respect and acceptance? (Have you ever been in a classroom that was stiflingly hot? Could you focus?) Learners need to feel comfortable, safe, and accepted in order to participate… both physically and emotionally. Although we are used to sitting in child-sized chairs, they are not conducive to an hour or more of sitting!
Adults like to have some say in what it is that they are learning. Often we can ‘walk them through’ the process of choosing an area they could benefit from additional information on. (“What is your biggest challenge?…”) Encourage or help them to set continued learning goals. How can you help them to be self-directed in their learning?
Reinforce attempts at new behavior and any successes. How can you help to ensure success with new behaviors or skills? Do participants feel like they can do or achieve what it is we are teaching?
Assess current knowledge Define what is of interest &/or of value to participants Recap what was learned (after)
Thoughts on this quote? Is it true, based on your experiences? How does it relate to the information presented? CAbraham/2005
The Adult Learner By Cathy Abraham 2005 Free powerpoints at http://www.worldofteaching.com
"The art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery." - Mark Van Doren
What is Learning? <ul><li>Learning involves change. </li></ul><ul><li>It is concerned with the acquisition of habits, knowledge, and attitudes. </li></ul><ul><li>It enables the individual to make both personal and social adjustments. </li></ul>
What is Learning? <ul><li>Learning is a change in the individual, due to the interaction of that individual, and his environment, which fills a need and makes him more capable of dealing adequately with his environment. </li></ul><ul><li>Learning is a change in human disposition or capability, which can be retained and applied. </li></ul>
Key Assumptions about Adult Learners: <ul><li>Adults are motivated to learn as they experience needs and interests that learning will satisfy. </li></ul><ul><li>Adults’ orientation to learning is life-centered. </li></ul><ul><li>Experience is the richest source for adults’ learning. </li></ul><ul><li>Adults have a need to be self-directing. </li></ul>
Dewey’s Key Concepts of Teaching: <ul><li>All genuine education comes about through experience. </li></ul><ul><li>Democracy/Participation - promotes quality human experience </li></ul><ul><li>Continuity - builds upon experiences that are worth while </li></ul><ul><li>Interaction/Participative- it’s a social process </li></ul>
What Adults Need to Know Prior to Learning: <ul><li>Need to know how learning will be conducted </li></ul><ul><li>Need to know what will be learned </li></ul><ul><li>Need to know why it will be valuable </li></ul>
"Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young." - Henry Ford
Breakdown of the Principals of Adult Learning Learning is enhanced when it can immediately be applied in a real-life context.
Learning is enhanced when adult learners have control or influence over their educational experiences.
Learning depends on past and current experiences.
Learning is enhanced when people are active participants.
Learning requires an environment of comfort and respect.
Learning is enhanced when learning is self-directed.
Adult learning is enhanced when participants experience success.
KWL Format What do we know about… What do we want to know about… What did we learn about… (after)
“ Show me and I forget; Teach me and I remember; Involve me and I learn.” - B. Franklin