Knowing how adults are likely to learn, you can tailor adult training programs to take advantage of talents adult learners have, such as their curiosity to learn relevant material, their need to relate with experience, and their motivation to amend themselves. In this article, we’ll examine the adult learners’ distinctive qualities and needs, and how you should plan and deliver employee training with them in mind.
Adapt Your Training To What Adult Learners Need
Adults learn from experience. Also, they need to feel actively engaged in their training, which, in turn, should be applicable and solve actual problems. Maturity brings extraordinary characteristics that affect how adults are motivated to learn. By captivating the unique qualities of adult learners, we can plan more effective and engaging workplace training program. Here’s how:
- Make Training Specific
- Among several adult learners’ characteristics and needs, one of the most stable traits is that adults don’t bother about abstract theories, but practical results. Being able to see the immediate appreciable benefits from their training is what draws them to learning. This means, their training has to enable them to perform tasks faster and better, or to do things that they weren’t able to do before.
- When working with adult learners, you should cut any irrelevant theoretical background from your training content. Keep only the essential parts, and enhance your training with simulations and real-life case studies that assist knowledge transfer. Incorporate internships that teach your learners specific skills that they’ll be able to apply to their own everyday workflows.
- Make Training Self-Paced
- Adult learners have busy work schedules and plenty of family-related needs and household chores to attend to. So, expecting them to go through a severe training schedule might lead to disaster. Your workplace adult training program should let them study at their own pace, and allow them to dive in their courses whenever they can find some free time and from wherever they happen to be.
- Make Learning Outcomes Clear
- Another typical adult learner characteristic is that, unlike kids, adult learners need to have an intrinsic motivation to learn. To motivate adult learners in a proper manner, you need to make the learning outcomes clear. To put it in another way, you need to show them how your training program will help them correct the actual skills they’ll need in their daily lives. Making them aware that their training success will be a factor in the development of their career will also help enormously.
- Teach Through Experience
- Most adults learn through experience. That’s how they learn their most important work and life skills. Even the things that we’ve been taught at school only actually sink in after we’ve used them in practice. Adults also love to share their knowledge in a subject matter. You can take advantage of this and have your adult learners teach one another. Start by providing forums, discussions, and live chats into your adult training program to help your learners exchange stories and experiences with their peers. They will learn more through this spontaneous collaboration, and they’ll enjoy the learning process more as well.
- Create A Buzz
- The older you get, the less open you are to change. Whether that’s beliefs, attitudes, or even routines. Naturally, this will also apply to training. Thus, in order to help adult learners become more flexible toward change, would be to have other, more eager peers motivate the group. A few positive examples within the team can make all the difference. Alternatively, you can try awakening a competitive spirit in them by gamifying learning. Game elements, like setting points for successful course completion, will make the training experience more challenging and definitely more compelling for your adult learners.
The key to a successful adult training program is understanding their needs, wants, mindset and motivations. Instructors must focus on adults’ traits and characteristics in order to make adult training a valuable experience for all learners.