We can force adults to attend a training course however we can’t force them to learn what is presented in the training. We can only make them pull the learning benefits by triggering their motivation. Many books and theories were written about this; the fact remains that adults learning depends on many factors - one of them is the desire to learn.
Keeping this in mind, I will share with you how to optimize adults’ learning experience, and approach it effectively, by applying the following:
• Adults can’t be forced to learn, unless they choose to do so because they evaluate the benefits of the proposed learning experience and ask: What is in it for me? If the answer to such question is positive, they will be naturally motivated to learn, otherwise, they will decline learning.
• Adults are motivated to learn new KAS (Knowledge, Ability, Skills), especially if it helps them improve their performance and overcome operational challenges and deficiencies.
• Adults learning experience must tackle a specific and well-defined learning concept, to prevent confusion and accelerate their understanding of the concept learned.
• Adults need continuous feedback and encouragement to adjust their performance, during the learning process, and adapt to the process successfully.
• Adults view learning as a tool that positively reflects on their self-esteem, provides the opportunity to interact with others; motivates them to achieve the desired results and accents their "professional ego" level.
• Adults are intrigued by new ideas and concepts that trigger their curiosity to learn, especially if they are related to their daily work, and help them improve the quality and efficiency of the working cycle.
• Adults need to be working in a “blame-free” environment, to feel safe and secure from being pointed at, and motivated to apply the newly obtained KAS, without reluctance or fear of criticism.
• Adults view learning experience as an opportunity to express themselves and share their experience with others because they have a wealth of experience and are proud to share it. So, the learning tools applied should take that into consideration.
• Adults learn through systematic and structured learning experience to end up with a valid learning outcome.
• Adults prefer self-learning techniques to integrate learned concepts with existing KAS and experience.
• Adults thrive on feedback, to adjust their performance and expectations. Feedback should be precocious and concise and in a timely fashion.
• Adults learn differently, as each one has his preferred learning style. Such preferred style does not reflect strength or ability, as much as it reflects how adults approach learning.
• Adults learn by doing because of their experience and maturity.
Professional trainers and consultants should be aware of the above matters to ensure results delivery. I strongly feel that working with adults is a challenge and requires a certain talent.
Adults should be sold the benefits of the proposed training otherwise it would be a waste of time and resources and most importantly the ROI on the training conducted would be poor.
Trainer & Consultant