Top Tips to Understand the Needs of Adult Learners

Adults learn differently from younger students. Since learning in adulthood is voluntary, they have always special needs as learners. Considering these needs help framing a high quality training program. One of the best approaches to understand a learner’s needs is his evaluation. However, various andragogy techniques have come along over the past few years that have helped extension educators to create enriched learning experience and gauge their needs.

Participating in a positive learning experience enables students to retain their knowledge and successfully apply these in real life work environments. Here, we are talking about some widely followed ways that are helpful for understanding the learners’ needs.

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Encourage Students for Active Learning

Students always tend to follow easy and short cut methods to reach their goal. Such habits make them passive learners over a period of time. This is even more common in adult learners. They are busy individuals and can hardly manage time to engage in active learning. A training program with practical and interesting lessons is a great way to encourage them. At least, the process should ensure that the learners can grasp knowledge and successfully apply in real life. Keep the following pointers in mind:

  • Use meaningful learning activities
  • Work on inspiring questions
  • Use appropriate technological assistance to engage students
  • Focus on real-life and application-based examples
  • Manage group discussions for increased interactivity

Well-prepared Presentation is the Key to Success

Adults have a lot more other involvements apart from learning. Quite obviously, they can’t invest as much time as younger students do in preparing presentations. But, since they want to make the most of the class time, they appreciate well-prepared class presentation. Being more experienced, adult learners always look for quality presentations. These suggestions might help educators:

  • Use a microphone and be organized
  • Avoid being monotonous
  • Give regular pauses and allow students enough time to think and take notes
  • Use anecdotes to explain concepts for effective learning


Time Management is Important

Most of the adult learners are conscious about time and value punctuality. Since, they are involved with many other important chores; they can manage very little time for classes. A well-paced class is all what they need. Some tips for effective time management are as follows:

  • Punctuality in starting and ending lessons
  • Frame each lessons effectively
  • Avoid repetitions and unnecessary deviations
  • Offer effective consultation as and when required

Effective Communication

Educators should clearly communicate their expectations to the learners. By doing this, you can understand what a student needs to complete any given course and specific assignments. Educators will also get to know in case the learners cannot complete the assignment. These tips might help for effective communication

  • A well-informed knowledge on policy matters/practices at institution
  • Familiarity with the course structure and exam matters
  • Giving instructional guide to the course such as requirements, assessment and rubrics
  • Set the expectations right from the very beginning
  • Guide students for managing exam or assessment questions

Being Approachable and Encouraging
Adult learners look for educators, who can understand their challenges and listen to their problems. Here are some of their insightful tips which a teacher or educator or instructor might find this useful.

  •  Challenges faced by adult students
  • Adults should be treated as mature students
  • Friendly atmosphere
  • Build a good rapport with students

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