Whether training your staff on a new methodology or educating your client on the functionality of their website, it is good practice to bear in mind that the approach of adult education is different from that of children education.
Here you will find 10 topics on Andragogy (the field of studies of adult learning) that will lead the educational projects of your company to success.
1. Your learner is active: Adults not only want but must be brought to participate in their education process. You can often count on then not only to dive deeper into the topic and even add to it with their own experience.
2. Your learner is self-conscious: Adults have their concepts and opinions of what is wrong or right, good or bad, efficient or not. Be open to their participation and ask key questions like “has anyone experienced it before?”, “what is your opinion on this?”.
3. Your learners are unique: Each one of them has their pacing of learning. Some of your learners might even lack the skill or knowledge required for understanding the content being tough so the use of empathy is fundamental.
4. Your learner’s drive: Your learner is there for a reason. Learning the content for some might be a challenging experience, a mere obligation or a means to achieve career improvement. The content you are passing is, therefore, going to “touch” then in different ways.
5. Relevant content: Your learners have their own life, career, family, ambitions and priorities. They tend to absorb knowledge better if it directly affects their practical life and if analogies/examples are given on their field of knowledge. Assess their demand of knowledge beforehand to make sure you will bring the pertinent content.
6. Repetition leads to perfection: Built your presentation in a way that info is repeated throughout it. Hands-on exercises also increase the absorption of content and add to the previous topic.
7. Reinforcement: Adult learners require reward either consciously or not. Compliment their improvement, congratulate valuable participation and reward them in a way that progression is clearer.
8. Be innovative: Go beyond the slideshow and cliche activities. Bring something new. Bear in mind that our emotions and memory are strongly interconnected.
9. Cultural influence: Do a bit of research on the best approach to your learners according to their culture (e.g. geographical location, the field of work, religion, political view, emotional x logical inclination).
10. Group atmosphere: Pay attention to what is happening among your learners. The presence of a rigid “boss” might lead to tension and unfruitful competition between learners. The formation of groups with keen interest might also lead to the segregation of one or some.
When compared to children education, adults’ learning is much more about knowledge sharing and a strong emphasis on practice and outcomes. Make sure you understand the individuality of your learners and make sure the environment is learning-friendly.