Principles of Excellent Education

Principles of Excellent Adult Education

Excellent educators know how to bring a process of learning to adults, in ways most appreciated by adults.  For instance, adults expect a training approach that is centred on: discussing practical problems, not abstract theory; delivered collaboratively, not top-down; and facilitated as equals among peers, not taught by power distant lecturers.  The process can be brought to life with courses that adhere to the six principles of adult learning.

Adult Learning Principles in Blended Learning

Instructional designers and facilitators can leverage six key principles of excellent education to increase competency and capability.  These six principals are at the heart of PMWorks education philosophy.

Create workshops based on minimum instruction and maximum participation.

  • Learning is best reinforced when adult learners are encouraged to explore the topic on their own, with minimal guidance from a trainer.
  • On the occasions when support is required, be prepared to provide Q&A (questions and answers) sessions for information sharing.

Adults expect clearly stated outcomes

Create eLearning courses that build on the past experiences to inform and engage the learning of new experiences.

  • Recognise that a learner may have more expertise in a topic than the facilitator/trainer.  Allow them to explain, engage and enthuse others as part of the facilitation delivery approach.

Build professional communities of practices to support adult learners afterword.

  • The readiness of adults to learn may often depend on the support they receive from their professional networks and work peers.  Adults look for ways to validate how readily new knowledge can be practically applied at work.

Emphasise how the training material will solve problems that the adult learner frequently encounters at work.

  • Adults want to know why a topic is importance; how well new knowledge can solve problems; and how quickly the potential solution can be implemented.

Clearly state a practical reason for taking each course, module or learning activity.

  • Clearly state the course objectives (why it is important for the learner) and learning outcomes (what new skill can the learner perform).  Otherwise, adults may not see a real need to participate and learn.

Give adult learners the time and opportunity to absorb information, not memorise it.

  • Adult learners want to immediately see how instructions can help them solve problems.  They may need time to fine-tune and experiment with new attitudes, skills and behaviours.
  • Memorisation is simply used for reciting information to pass a test, which may turn-off adult learners.

PAPPAS, C. 2014. 9 Tips To Apply Adult Learning Theory to eLearning [Online]. eLearning Industry.