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Oct
01

Do You Know How Adults Like to Learn? What This Means to How You Teach

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Think about your last classroom experience. Did the instructor teach like you liked to learn? How do you teach? Are you varied in your teaching methods, or, perish the thought, a ‘one-trick’ pony?

I’m working on converting my Train the Trainer distance learning course to a new course software format. The information below is excerpted from the course.

How do you like to learn? I ask that question in my pre-conference survey before I teach the ‘live’ version of Train the Trainer–Instructor Development Workshop. (coming up in Bellevue, WA. Oct. 3-4). Interestingly, people’s answers vary greatly. Here are some of their answers about how they like to learn:

•Concrete sequential •Interaction and involvement •Experience first-hand how to teach a class •Listen and see visual examples •Small groups •Interactive environment •Take notes and ask lots of questions •Variety: lecture, video, exercises Doing/listening/visual

Do We Teach to How They Like to Learn?

Too often, we launch right into creating a course without acknowledging how adults learn. To optimize adult learning, we must include in our course those methods that are proven to result in better adult learning.  This will solve many of our teaching challenges! that means we have to have a wide ‘repertoire’ of teaching methods!

How Adults Like to Learn

1. Adults learn through association:  “We learn what we already know”.

I’ll bet you can remember a time when you took a course and got lost because the instructor didn’t relate what he was teaching to what you already knew.

Give an example of a time when you took a course, or taught a course, and the students didn’t understand what the instructor was talking about, even though the instructor kept trying to explain.

In both my ‘train the trainer courses, I show you how to teach with relevance, so you never ‘lose’ the student along the way!

         2. Adults learn and retain best by doing.

Life is “do it yourself”. This means that the highest level of learning occurs when the student practices in class. Otherwise, there is little skill developed and little retention.

Can you remember a time when you saw the instructor demonstrate the skill, but you had no chance to practice the skill in class.  (This is too often the case in real estate courses!)

     How did that affect your ability to do the skill later—your retention?

Does your favorite method of teaching match how adults learn best?

What does the research about retention suggest about the importance of role play (each person practicing the skill in class) in the learning process?

3. Adults learn from each other – Use teaching methods to encourage information exchange.

What teaching methods do you use in your teaching to ‘choreograph’ (organize and facilitate) the students in your class learning from each other?

4. Adults learn through repetition – Use several approaches to the same concept/process.

What kind of repetition have you seen be effective to increase students’ retention?

     What do you plan on doing to provide repetition and thus, long-term retention?

In both my courses, we explore several methods to provide repetitition–without being repetitious!       

5. Adults learn through rapid recall.

What methods have you seen used by instructors to provide situations where students could practice their recall, and thus, increase their retention?

In my new Train the Trainer course, I introduce Rapid Recall, where those taking the course have an opportunity to revisit the important concepts in that section of the course.     

6. Adults seek to satisfy individual needs – Experience levels vary greatly.

What methods have we already discussed to discover individual student needs?

  How have you seen instructors (or how have you) revisited those student needs during the course to remind students of their needs, and to see that you are meeting their needs?

    7. Adults learn practical information best. They want to know how your course content applies to their lives.

What methods do you use to assure that students can apply what you’re teaching to their lives?

Expand your teaching ‘repertoire’ with dozens of interesting, exciting, and new teaching methods. Explore either my distance learning Train the Trainer Course, or, my ‘live’ Instructor Development Workshop.

      

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