Want to impact Adult Learning? Checkout these 7 Tips

Adult Learning Principles –Time Management Case Study 

There are seven adult learning principles. In each principle, we have used an example from time management, as though the supervisor/manager were coaching an employee to improve his/her time management techniques.

1)     As adults, we learn to do by doing. Give trainees something practical to do with the information they have just heard. For example, have them fill in their planner for the next month or clean out their briefcase.

2)     We get our impressions through our senses, so combine verbal explanations with written instructions, illustrations, or an object they can taste touch or smell. For example, in addition to verbal suggestions on time management, provide written materials, or perhaps demonstrate the proper technique for filing.

3)     We learn when we are ready to learn. If possible, train when there is a need for a particular skill, and help trainee understand how this learning can help them in their job, their career or their interpersonal life. For example, learning to use time to our advantage is an essential skill if we juggle a job and a home, or if our job is demanding. Most of us have things we would like to do if we could find the time.

4)     We tie new learning to what we already know. Try to make connections between what they are presently doing or saying, and how they should behave differently after the training. For example, you could ask them to identify how they handle calls or e-mail now and help them work through a different way of handling these to save time. Ask them where they feel they are not using their time effectively and work from that starting point.

5)     We learn one thing at a time, so teachers/coaches must watch that they don’t rush through things too quickly, or give them too much to absorb at one time. After each “learning point” it is a good idea to give people a chance to ask questions, to do an exercise to cement their understanding, or to let them practice what they have just learned. For example, you would want to make sure that trainees completely understand how to de-clutter their office before you move on to talk about using a planner.

6)     We learn more rapidly when results are satisfying to us. Praise your trainees when they do well at even a small thing. Never ridicule them. Don’t put people in positions where they might feel humiliated or threatened. For example, often just filling in a planner, or setting up a telephone list of frequently called numbers can be a satisfying thing.

7)     We need to understand what we learn. It may not be enough to just ask “Is this clear?” or, “Do you understand?” However, if we break learning into small chunks and give them opportunities to practice, we can check back with them to see if we have been clear. Then, they have a better chance of understanding. For example, a case study or a skill-building exercise based on learning how to say “no” may be appropriate.


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