The adult learner is in charge of his/her own learning.  The trainer cannot impose or insert learning, but instead must serve as a leader, guide, and catalyst.

1. Adults are motivated to learn as they develop needs and interests that learning will satisfy.  Therefore, the needs and interests of adult learners are the appropriate starting points for organizing adult learning activities, and are the crucial guideposts for delivering training.

2. Adult orientation learning is either life-centered or work-centered.  Therefore, the appropriate frameworks for organizing adult learning are life-related and/or work-related situations, not academic or theoretical subjects.

3. Experience is the richest resource for adult learning.  Therefore, the core methodology for adult learning programs involves active participation in a planned series of experiences, the analysis of those experiences, and their application to work and life situations.

4. Adults have a deep need to be self-directing.  Therefore, the role of the trainer is to engage in a process of inquiry, analysis, and decision-making with learners, rather than to transmit his/her knowledge to them and then evaluate their conformity to it.

5. Individual differences among adult learners increase with age and experience.  Therefore, adult learning programs must make optimum provision for differences in style, time, place, and pace of learning.

Adapted from:  Frederic H. Margolis and Chip R. Bell, Managing the Learning Process, Lakewood Publications, Malcolm Knowles, The Adult Learner: A Neglected Species, and The Modern Practice of Adult Education: From Pedagogy to Androgogy.

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About the Author
Cherissa Newton

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