Characteristics of Adult Learners

Characteristics of Adult Learners

While the basic principles of teaching and learning apply to both teaching youth and teaching adults, there are key differences when working with each group.

To facilitate the learning process for adults, it is important to understand the characteristics of adult learners, the differences between youth and adult learners, and the appropriate strategies for teaching adults.

One of the major differences between adult learners and youth is that adults are typically more autonomous and self-directed.

Adults are more likely to be more independent and they typically prefer teaching methods that involve them in the learning process and gives them greater control over their learning.

As a teacher of adults, it is important to view yourself as a facilitator of their learning.

Another major difference between adult learners and youth is that adult learners bring their accumulation of life experiences and knowledge to your classroom.

As a teacher, it is important to honor those experiences and that knowledge.

Teachers of adults should work to connect what is being taught with adult learners' experiences and knowledge.

In addition, adult learners are relevancy and practice oriented. Adult learners must see a reason for learning something. Learning must be applicable to their work or other responsibilities to be of value to them.

Adults may not be interested in knowledge that has no practical value.

Finally, while all learners need to be shown respect, it is especially important for adult learners to be shown respect. Adults should be treated as equals in experience and knowledge and allowed to voice their opinions freely in class.

Last modified: Wednesday, 18 July 2012, 10:36 AM
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