Whether you’re in a professional role that involves human resources, education, training or professional development, many of us are tasked with providing education and/or training for adult colleagues and peer professionals. If you’ve ever felt like your lesson, training or presentation did not leave a lasting impression on your audience, you are not alone. So, how do you more actively engage adult learners? How do you make sure that a transfer of knowledge actually occurs?

There are four steps that you should consider when creating materials and presentations for adult audiences:

1. Adults need to be involved in the planning and evaluation of their instruction.

2. Experience (including mistakes) should be the basis for learning activities.

3. Adults are most engaged by learning subjects that have immediate relevance to their job or personal life.

4. Adult learning is problem-centered rather than content-oriented. Knowles (1984) Andragogy in Action

By exploring how adults learn, and how they assess their own learning, you can make stronger connections for the learner. The key is to express to the learner why this is relevant to them, how they will be able to use their base knowledge as a platform for growth, and how to apply what they have learned in their own environment.

For example, let’s say you are tasked with teaching your team how to implement a new technology. As the adult educator in this situation, you will want to start by explaining why the new technology will be used. Next, you will want to collect feedback from your team, such as questions or concerns they may already have about the new technology. What do they feel at risk of losing by implementing this new technology? What do they want to gain from this new technology? Going through this process will allow you to incorporate the experience your team has already… the old technology… and marrying that with involving your team in the process of adopting a new technology. Following this process, give some concrete examples of how the new technology will impact your team in their daily work. As a final step, facilitate opportunities for the team to problem solve throughout the implementation of the new technology.

This is one example of how adult learning theory can be applied in teaching adults, but the basic foundations are the same across all industries.

At UNE Online we’ve developed a course designed to teach professionals like yourself, the theories of adult learning so you’re able to put together materials and training programs that engage and transfer knowledge to your intended audiences.

This 100% online course is designed to teach students best skills and practices to employ when educating peer professionals to ensure all points made in their presentation, workshop or training; stick. After completing this course we are confident employers and employees alike will be able to utilize their new skills to provide more effective trainings and presentations in their workplace.

We are currently accepting applicants for our Summer B session which begins on June 27th. Apply by June 4th, for admission into this section.

For more information and to download a course flyer, visit: http://go.une.edu/adult-learning-theory