Characteristics of Adult Learners
An educator is responsible to recognize and accommodate the training needs of busy adults balancing a variety of roles. The eLearning Coach website offers an impressive article on the ‘8 Important Characteristics of Adult Learners’. Knowing that my audience will typically be made up of mature and experienced decision makers who are generally self-confident and possibly ridged in their thoughts, as an educator, I must be aware that this certainly will impact their ability to learn. This website offers tremendous insight into the traits of the adult learner, where they come from, what their expectations might be, and how to adjust the lesson plan to accommodate.
Creating a Positive Learning Environment
Every class brings a new challenge to create the right environment for each student that will enhance their best learning and assist them in achieving their goals. I like the simplicity of Michael Galbrath’s four recommendations to successfully create a positive learning environment. The four key components are: Establish inclusion through collaboration and participation; Develop a positive attitude by incorporating what learners know, what they want to know, and identify what they have already learned; Enhance meaning using variety in teaching styles such as asking questions or posing a problem; and, Engender competence by providing consistent and prompt feedback. I think the incorporation of these four components into my lesson planning will result in great results for students.
“Motivation is NOT a goal, it is a means to a goal” (Anthony, 2009). When adult learners are your audience, it is essential to keep their interests, reasons for taking the course and perspectives in mind during lesson planning. eLearning Industry website offers 17 tips to motivate that range from basic to creative ideas. There are basic suggestions such as making the learning useful and relevant to building the learning community and integrating social media. The more creative tips suggest the use of humour, adding suspense, accommodation of individual interest/career goals and making the content visually compelling. The recommendation that I found most valuable to incorporate into my planning is to be inspiring and make the content exciting. I wish more of my teachers had done that!
Pre and post assessment of student knowledge is pivotal to how the material should be presented and in the determination of its value based on the assessment results. Designing Effective Webinars is an excellent website that offers quality questions for the educator to consider in the design of a pre-assessment. It offers sample pre-assessment strategies that will give the instructor a good sense of the audience and their subject related knowledge. There are post-assessment strategies that give insight to learner takeaways as well as a ‘Road Map’ for overall lesson planning that is very comprehensive. As a new instructor this will be extremely valuable to validate I have considered all aspects in my lesson planning.
Impact in the opening and closing of an instructional lesson to me, is the key to delivery success. This is the tool that either captures the learners interested or looses it. The Edutopia website has an article, ‘The 8 Minutes That Matter Most’ that articulates excellent ideas for impact openings and creative ways to effectively close the lesson. The suggestions found here will assist me as a new educator to determine student learning and retention which is really important to revising the lesson plan to be more effective on a go forward basis.