Adult Learning Principles and Teaching Implications
M.S. Knowles outlines five principles of adult learning, which have a number of implications in teaching.
Adult learning is problem centered with a need for immediate application of knowledge.
- Feedback should be basis for sharing information
- Use neutral description not judgement-laden rhetoric
- Feedback is the amount of information a learner can use, not the amount a preceptor wants to give
- Provide feedback about learner’s behaviour not personal characteristics
- Provide feedback on seen or heard observations rather than assumptions and inferences
Adult learning is related to an adult’s readiness to learn, which is associated with life stage and tasks.
- Attempt to integrate new concepts and ideas with learner’s established beliefs, values and attitudes
- Try to sequence information as opposed to chunks
- Be sensitive to learner’s concurrent responsibilities
- Avoid speaking in an authoritarian manner
Adults have experiences that serve as learning resources.
- Try to determine background knowledge and skills; recognize present abilities and build on them
- Relate current learning to appropriate past experiences
- Share your work experiences with learner
Adults become increasingly independent and self-directed as they age.
- Involve people in all phases of learning process such as development of learning objectives
- Respect differences in learner’s values, beliefs and interpretations
Internal not external pressures more often motivate adult learners.
- Promote feelings of adequacy, competency and security through positive reinforcement
- Provide a safe, open interpersonal environment
- Minimize environmental variables that restrict learning opportunities
Knowles, M. S. (1980). The modern practice of adult education: from pedagogy to andragogy. NY: Cambridge Books.”Preceptor: A Nurse’s Guide to Mentoring,” F.A. Davis 2001