In the context of globalization where knowledge rules the roost, individuals cannot give up learning at any part of life, nor can they say that their learning is complete at school or college. In order for them to stay afloat in a competitive job market, they need to consistently upgrade their knowledge and skills.
However, according to Malcolm S. Knowles, adults have different learning requirements and expectations than those of children or adolescents. Let us look at a few of them.
Adult learners set their objectives before they choose a program:
The motivation for an adult learner to opt for a learning program can be very specific. It need not be just for the sake of gaining knowledge. They choose a program because it helps them improve their performance at work or meet the changing demands of work. Sometimes, the new qualification or skills can help them get promoted to the next level in the corporate hierarchy.
Therefore, instructors should get the learners’ priorities first and prepare their teaching methods accordingly. They need to announce the way in which each of the learning sessions will help them fulfill their objectives.
Adult learners are 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 sessions and reap suitable dividends from them, they will not continue with the program.
Adult learners are self-directed:
Adult learners can learn independently. They may not require lengthy lectures by their instructors. So, instructors should guide them to their learning instead of presenting them with all the facts. They can also guide learners to choose their own projects and work in teams. Besides, adult learners expect their instructors to give them specific feedback, not general.
Adult learners have abundant experience:
Adult learners come with a lot of experience of both education and life. They can grasp the specific content of the course fast when it is applicable to their experience. So, instructors should constantly bring real life situations into their teaching, for example, when discussing a theory or a concept. It will be much more effective if they create a situation and encourage learners to implement it as this helps them understand the concept thoroughly and retain it. This is because the degree of retention is directly proportionate to the amount of practice invested in learning.
Adult learners have several responsibilities:
Adult learners may have several family and professional responsibilities. Sometimes, this can prevent their learning. Moreover, adult learners are mature individuals with their own perspective on several issues. Instructors should respect this fact and behave with them professionally. This facilitates success on the part of both learners and instructors.
Education providers and instructors should keep these needs in view while making their educational offerings and classroom presentations. They need to explore the latest educational technologies to make their educational programs more effective and appropriate to the needs of adult learners.
Do share your thoughts on the same.
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