Adult Learners and Learning Styles

At LMIT, the majority of our learners are adults because they are either looking to get a qualification for their job or they need extra training to up-skill themselves or they want to change careers.

The courses we offer combine both the knowledge and practical skills that can be implemented straight away into peoples work life. It is the career focus of our courses that is so attractive to the adult learner.

Teaching adults requires special skills as adults come to training with a wealth of experience and want to be recognised for that.

So here are some pointers on how adults learn best.

Adults learn best when they:

  • Want to learn and have clear objectives
  • Know their trainers are sympathetic to their objectives
  • Are treated as adults and equals
  • See that the subject matter and the methods are relevant to their needs
  • Can use their experience and knowledge in the learning process
  • Find that new information is presented logically and sequentially
  • Are encouraged to ask questions and discuss issues
  • Are active and see a purpose for activities
  • Can practice as they learn
  • Get a feeling of success and progress

There are 3 different learning styles that trainers need to be aware of when training a group of adult learners.  All 3 styles should be incorporated in the training to ensure inclusivity.

Different people learn in different ways.

The Main Learning Styles Are:

Auditory learners: Auditory learners learn best by hearing. If you tell them something they will remember it. They would rather listen to a recording than read a book. They can often be recognised by the words they use, e.g., `It doesn’t sound right to me’ or `He wasn’t tuned in when I was talking’.

Visual learners: Visual learners absorb most information through their eyes, either reading or watching. They will ask you to hand them a piece of paper rather than read it to them and they will use phrases such as `I just can’t see that working’ or `picture this’.

Kinaesthetic learners: Kinaesthetic learners like to do or touch things. They would rather be hands on than hearing or reading about it. They use phrases like `It didn’t feel right’, or `I couldn’t handle it’.

Most people are a mix of styles.

The most dominant style in Australia is kinaesthetic.  We tend to be a country of `I’ll do it myself and figure it out’ types.  We hardly ever read the manual!

So the next training session you deliver, keep these points in mind to ensure your adult learners get the most out of their training.

For more information on professional development courses and training or career development in OHS, QA and Quality Auditing, Project Management, and Frontline Management view our entire range of training courses here.

Published by: LMIT

Showing 1 comments

  1. Rainer Rieck

    Training and Assessment
    Teaching styles.
    Auditory, Visual, Kinaesthetic.
    Literacy problems
    As the above article represent the average person all’s well if you can select the types,
    And this does help to improve your teaching skills, to reach the broader audience in successful retention results.
    Having had the occasions where the student, was not there voluntarily, but came because the firm expected him to, as part of the induction process, reluctantly they turn up.
    It’s imperative you use your skill in body language and your auditory perception with this type of student “ why do I have to do this, been doing my job for years” a common response, this and/or a reluctance to fill out the forms, can be indicators for numeracy and literacy deficiencies, Having had years of practice to by pass the system they can be hard to detect.
    One method I found to be successful once detected is to start idle chat “saying yes its daunting to fill out all these forms, if one isn’t used to it, so seeing I am familiar with the FORMS why don’t I just read them out and you tell me your answers, its just as fast if I fill it out for you”, this usually results in a much relaxed attitude from the trainee, and they are happy to verbally give you the knowledge they have, having saved face and not being forced to admit that there is a problem.
    This has occurred on a number of occasions at inductions on Construction sites,

    Rainer E Rieck

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