The Uniqueness of Adult Learning
Have you ever had trouble helping team members at your organization learn a new skill, process, procedure or system? Many leaders want their employees to gain new knowledge and skills but aren't always sure how to help them learn. Relying on the principles of adult-centered learning, which assumes a vast amount of knowledge and experience and seeks learner input, is often a good place to start.
The next time you need to ensure that your team successfully learns a new skill, process, procedure or system, consider these 4 principles of adult learning:
- Establish Relevance. Adults learn only what they feel they need or want to know. Is the need to know clear and logical? Is the application detailed and explicit?
- Ask for Input. Adults need to have some control in what and how they learn. Have the learners identified their expectations? Do objectives match their needs or interests?
- Include Experiential Learning. Adults learn best in task or experience-oriented situations. Will they learn by doing? Will they set goals, make decisions and/or solve problems?
- Create a Safe Environment. Adults learn best in a cooperative climate that encourages risk-taking and experimentation. Will they be rewarded for taking risks and trying new things? Will their opinions and behaviors be respected?