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CreditSmart A Guide to Help You Understand, Promote, and Deliver the CreditSmart Curriculum

Adult Learning Tips

Understanding adult learning principles is key to designing successful workshops that engage participants and facilitate learning. It is helpful to make a list of the characteristics of adult learning preferences in order to tailor your training methods to the needs of the trainees. By understanding these principles, you will find that the workshop will be more beneficial to the participants and the organization.

Concepts you can practice:

  • Dialogue – interaction between learners and instructors.
  • Supportive atmosphere – a comfortable environment facilitates learning along with a nurturing instructor; acknowledged support outside of the learning environment (management, available resources) is also helpful.
  • Encouragement of cooperative communication – clear opportunities for discussion between learners and instructors and learners with each other.

Adults respond best to learning that is:

  • In a safe environment
  • Active
  • Experience-based
  • Recognizing the learner as an expert
  • Independent

Adults respond best to real-life centered exercises that are:

  • Task-centered
  • Problem-centered
  • Solution-driven
  • Skill-seeking
  • Self-directing
  • Internally and externally motivated

Practice is important in motor learning:

  • How the practice is done makes a large difference.
    • In the short-run, practicing skills in separate but concentrated blocks leads to better performance during practice than integrating one skill after another (e.g., performing the whole task of roof bolting).
    • But in the long run, integrated practice (practicing the whole task) leads to better learning than block learning.
  • Incorporate evaluation into the lesson to help participants more clearly assess what they have learned.

Rate of Retention:

  • To achieve maximum retention of knowledge and concepts, it is essential to consider how you present the information.
    • Speak slowly and clearly when facilitating a discussion session. By speaking slowly, you'll allow participants time to understand what you're saying and formulate a response.
    • As a training leader, try to pace yourself, be patient with the time needed for participants to respond, and avoid interrupting participants.

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