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What Makes Adult Learners Active Participants?

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Adult Learners Active Participants

Twenty first century is posing great challenge for corporate companies to cope with constant change. This change is creating new and challenging work environments which require employees to seek new skills or upgrade their existing skills and knowledge. Because of this reason many companies face the necessity to train their workforce on a regular basis. Elearning is considered to be a boon for companies which have to cope up with a rapidly changing world. As such this online platform has rescued the companies and is very economical for their regular online training needs.

But often companies implement eLearning in a pedagogical way rather than in an andragogical way. This is because most of the training managers do not have any background in learning theories. As a result these companies taste a bitter experience with eLearning, which need not and should not have been so. Here we should understand that learners are not students or children. They are adults who are self-directed, goal oriented, relevancy oriented, and like to be respected. According to Knowles, Holton, and Swanson when adult learners feel others are imposing information, ideas or thoughts on them; they resist.

In order to make your adult learners motivated and actively participate in eLearning programs here are a few tips based on Malcolm Knowles (an American adult educator) principles of adult learning:

1. Be pragmatic

Adult learners have a practical bent of mind. They can quickly see the relevance of what they are learning and adapt them to real-life situations. Unless they feel that they are able to implement what they are learning in these courses and reap suitable dividends from them, they will not continue with the program.

2. Use humor

Why shouldn’t we use humor in the courses? Who doesn’t like to have a good laugh? We could certainly do with some laughter, particularly if you have to stare at the screen for 30 mins or so to complete an eLearning course and effectively assimilate what is being said there. But you should be careful while using humor in your eLearning courses especially in cross cultural training environments.

3. Use visuals

Employees in corporate companies have a harder time concentrating during training sessions. They have short attention spans. Using visuals can deliver more information in such an attention span. In addition it is the best tool to connect emotionally with learners.

4. Give reason and purpose

Objective communicates the intent of the course i.e. why learner needs to take the course or what is the purpose of the course. So the learning objective should be appropriate for the learner, doable and realistic. Before you develop the objective make sure you have a clear idea about what needs to be learnt, the target group of learners, their profiles and their level of comprehension about the subject matter.

5. Use social media

According to Dymock (researcher on adult learning) adult learners are motivated by social contact. Using social networking technologies as part of your learning strategy can make your training programs better. It also gives your learner a collaborative learning experience.

These are some points which make the adult learners participate actively in the eLearning courses. If you have more to say please do share.

View Presentation On Role of Humor in Training

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