Designing for the adult learner

Adult Learning Theory – do you know Knowles?

How do you involve your adult learner? We often delivery training with presentations and there may be limited options for learners to be involved in their own learning.  A key factor is choice. 

  • Give the learners options of several simulations, roles plays or game to try
  • During break out sessions or self directed time, allow the learner to chose to review content with videos, job aids, guides, operating procedures, etc.

How do you attach prior experience? When designing and developing your courses and learning activities, make sure you take the diversity of your learning audience into account, especially in terms of backgrounds,and skill sets. They may have had to file a claim, even if they never filed a claim. They may have called a call center, even though they never worked in one.

  • Use the annotate tool to create a survey in your presentation “have you ever…had an experience..”
  • Send a pre-survey to your class as way to do an introduction for an virtual event

How do you make it relevant? Adults are drawn to learning where objectives clear, and defines “what’s in it for me”.  

  • Share standard operating procedures, knowledge articles and metrics so learners know why this process and training exists
  • Share the common mistakes and failures, and how to overcome them

Problem centered?  Organized your content around a problem, and then use your procedures, and process and task to share your learners on how to solve it. 

  • Build your role plays with real examples if you can from live calls, tickets,, 
  • Have your learners review and evaluate with your documented procedures

Motivation to learn? As we mature our motivation to learn becomes internal. We want to learn for our own reasons, obtain a new job, a new skill, join a new company. 

  • Use an ice breaker to see why this role or company is interesting to the learner
  • Ask about their assumed expectations or outcomes of the class

Find the template here.

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