Give overviews, summaries, examples, & use stories to link theory to practice

Discuss and help them plan for direct application of the new information

Use collaborative, authentic problem-solving activities

Anticipate problems applying the new ideas to their setting so, offer suggestions

CAUTION- Guard against becoming too theoretical.


Provide low-risk activities in small group settings

Plan for building individual success incrementally

Help them become more effective and confident through guided practice and establishing routines.

CAUTION- Readiness to learn depends on self-esteem


Help them recall what they already know from prior experience that relates to the topic of learning.

Share your agenda and assumptions and ask for input. Adjust time for topics to fit their needs.

Use a continuum that describes a range of skill & knowledge. Ask they to apply stickers or marks showing what their current level of knowledge/skill is in the topic(s)

Ask what they would like to know about the topic

Build in options within your plan so you can easily shift to address needs.

Suggest follow up ideas and next steps for support and implementation after the session

CAUTION- Collect needs data and match the degree of choice to their level of development


Provide for their physical needs through breaks, snacks, coffee, comfort

Provide a quality, well organized, differentiated experience that uses time effectively and efficiently

Avoid jargon and don't "talk down" to participants

Validate and affirm their knowledge, contributions and successes

Ask for feedback on your work or ideas, provide input opportunities

CAUTION- Watch your choice of words to avoid creating negative perceptions


Don't ignore what they already know, it's a resource for you

Plan alternate activities and choice so they can adjust the process to fit their experience level

Create activities that use their experience and knowledge

Listen and collect data about participant needs before, during and after the event

CAUTION- Provide for the possibility of a need to unlearn old habits or confront in accurate beliefs


Build your plans around their needs, compare desired behaviors (goals) & actual behaviors

Share your agenda and assumptions and ask for input on them

Ask what they know already about the topic (their perception)

Ask what they would like to know about the topic

Build in options within your plan so you can easily shift if needed

Allow time for planning their next steps.

CAUTIONS- Match the degree of choice to their level of development . Also, since there may be things they don't know that they don't know, use a mix of their perception of needs AND research on needs and organizational needs and calendar to guide your planning.


"Adults will commit to learning when the goals and objectives are considered realistic and important to them. Application in the 'real world' is important and relevant to the adult learner's personal and professional needs.

Adults want to be the origin of their own learning and will resist learning activities they believe are an attack on their competence. Thus, professional development needs to give participants some control over the what, who, how, why, when, and where of their learning.

Adult learners need to see that the professional development learning and their day-to-day activities are related and relevant.

Adult learners need direct, concrete experiences in which they apply the learning in real work.

Adult learning has ego involved. Professional development must be structured to provide support from peers and to reduce the fear of judgment during learning.

Adults need to receive feedback on how they are doing and the results of their efforts. Opportunities must be built into professional development activities that allow the learner to practice the learning and receive structured, helpful feedback.

Adults need to participate in small-group activities during the learning to move them beyond understanding to application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. Small-group activities provide an opportunity to share, reflect, and generalize their learning experiences.

Adult learners come to learning with a wide range of previous experiences, knowledge, self-direction, interests, and competencies. This diversity must be accommodated in the professional development planning.

Transfer of learning for adults is not automatic and must be facilitated. Coaching and other kinds of follow-up support are needed to help adult learners transfer learning into daily practice so that it is sustained



From India, Delhi
Dear Trainers,
To solve an urgent need to train shipyard workers in 1917, Charles R. Allen adapted Herbart's five-step process.
He called it the "Show, Tell, Do, and Check" method of job instruction: ∑
Prepare the Workers - Put at ease. Find out what they already know about the job. Get them interested in learning. Place in correct position. ∑ Present the Operation - Tell, show, illustrate, and question carefully and patiently. Stress key points. Instruct clearly and completely, taking up one point at a time, but no more than they can master.
∑ Try Out Performance - Test them by having them perform the job. Have them tell and show you, have them explain key points. Ask questions and correct answers. Continue until you know that they know. ∑ Follow Up - Put them on their own Designate who they go to for help. Check frequently. Encourage questions. Get them to look for key points as they progress. Taper off extra coaching and close follow-ups.
Rajendra Gehlot

From India, Pune
Dear Friends,


An intresting Article on Adult Learning.

The Adult Learner - Andragogy

You may be familiar with the term pedagogy which is used to describe the 'traditional' methodology of child education. Quite often it is used as a synonym for 'teaching' and certainly represents learning focused on the teacher. In other words, in the pedagogic model of learning, the teacher decides what is learned, how it is learned and when learning takes place.

Whether or not this is the best model for child education, it is clearly inadequate for adult learning, particularly when it comes to work or career-related learning within the process of human resource development. HRD requires a more active approach from the learner which takes account of individual experience.

The term 'andragogy' was publicized by Malcolm Knowles, initially in his book, "The Modern Practice of Adult Education: Andragogy Versus Pedagogy" published in 1970. In this book and later works such as The Adult Learner: A Neglected Species, he suggested a comprehensive adult learning theory, building on earlier work by Lindeman (author of The Meaning of Adult Education, 1926). The latter had picked up the term andragogy - coined by a German teacher, Alexander Kapp in 1833. The following comment by Lindeman gives you a flavour:

"...the teacher finds a new function. He is no longer the oracle who speaks from the platform of authority, but rather the guide, the pointer-outer who also participates in learning in proportion to the vitality and relevancy of his facts and experiences."

Andragogy has been extensively used as a term for adult education in continental Europe. In the English-speaking world, however, it was not commonly used until Malcolm Knowles began to write on the subject. Knowles used andragogy to define and explain the conditions that adults required for learning. Initially defined as 'the art and science of helping adults learn,' the term has taken on a wider meaning and now refers to learner-focused education for people of all ages.

For Knowles, andragogy is process-based rather than content-based (pedagogy) and anchored on four (later, five) main assumptions about the characteristics of adult learners which, arguably, make them different from child learners. But even Knowles agrees that (the first four, at least) differ only in degree between adults and children.

1. Self-concept: As people mature, each person's concept of self moves away from being a dependent personality towards being a self-directed human being.

2. Experience: As people mature they accumulate their own individual, growing reservoirs of experience that provide an increasing resource for learning.

3. Readiness to learn: As people mature their readiness to learn becomes increasingly oriented to the developmental tasks of their social roles.

4. Orientation to learning: As people mature their time perspective changes from one of postponed application of knowledge to immediacy of application, and, as a result, they shift from a subject-centred to a problem-centred orientation toward learning.

5. Motivation to learn: As people mature the motivation to learn is internal (added in 1984).

Knowles' book is now in its 5th edition and has been revised and extended by Elwood F. Holton and Richard A. Swanson. This edition is entitled The Adult Learner: The Definitive Classic in Adult Education and Human Resource Development

In the ASTD Handbook of Training Design and Delivery (2nd edition 1999), Nancy Maresh describes adult learning in a way which relates quite closely to andragogy:

"As people move through life, new information and skills are imprinted in the brain by linking what is learned to the rest of the learner's past experience, prior knowledge and current experiences. In fact, learning doesn't happen without these connections. The creation and access of memory are a chemical and electrical process that links new pieces of information to existing pieces. While this may seem obvious, many trainers do not appreciate its importance.

"The brain has a predisposition to search for how things make sense and automatically looks for meaning in every experience. This quest for personal meaning translates directly into the search for common patterns and relationships. The essential function of adult learning is to find out how what is being learned relates to what the learner already knows and values and how that information and the learner's prior experiences connect."

Jane Vella (2002) sets out 12 principles for adult learning:

1. Needs assessment - participation of the learners in naming what is to be learned.

2. Safety in the environment and the process. We create a context for learning. That context can be made safe.

3. Sound relationships between teacher and learner and among learners.

4. Sequence of content and reinforcement.

5. Praxis - action with reflection or learning by doing.

6. Respect for learners as decision makers.

7. Ideas, feelings, and actions - cognitive, affective, and psychomotor aspects of learning.

8. Immediacy of the learning.

9. Clear roles and role development.

10. Teamwork and use of small groups.

11. Engagement of the learners in what they are learning.

12. Accountability - how do they know they know?


Rajendra Gehlot

From India, Pune

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