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Principles of Adult Learning. What Do Adults Need for Effective Learning? . OBJECTIVES. Describe the differences between learning styles of the adult & child. Identify the essential characteristics and requirements of effective adult learning.

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principles of adult learning

Principles of Adult Learning

What Do Adults Need for Effective Learning?

  • Describe the differences between learning styles of the adult & child.
  • Identify the essential characteristics and requirements of effective adult learning.
  • Be prepared to apply this information in planning & evaluating an effective learning session for medical students.
what is adult learning
What is Adult Learning?
  • Adults learn differently than children
    • Pedagogy describes the system through which children learn.
    • Andragogydescribes the system through which adults learn.
  • Medical students combine both systems
    • the learning expectations of an adult,
    • learning skills developed in childhood.
  • teacher-centered
  • learner is dependent on teacher
  • prior knowledge is limited
  • teacher defines task & goals
  • learner-centered
  • learners independent & self-motivated
  • extensive prior knowledge is available
  • task & goals are defined mutually to address learner needs and interests
  • learners self-assess
andragogy background
Andragogy: Background
  • Adult learning principles, known as Andragogy, were coined by Knapp (1833) & formally specified by Knowles (1980).
  • Andragogy describes learning in terms of:
      • the behaviors and expectations of adults,
      • the requirements for effective learning by adults.
  • Andragogic teaching methods focus on:
      • intellectual freedom, creativity & experimentation,
      • adult learners as peers & partners with the teacher,
      • personal responsibility for learning,
      • cooperative design of learning programs,
      • challenging learners to increase their skill in small steps,
      • active engagement in the learning process,
      • regular feedback & corresponding adjustment to the process.
b ehaviors and expectations of adults
Behaviors and Expectations of Adults
  • Adults want to learn in order to address a perceived need/solve a problem.
  • Adults prefer to guide & organize their own learning.
  • Adults immediately want to apply what they learn.
  • Adults want prompt & useful feedback.
r equirements for effective learning by adults
Requirements for Effective Learning by Adults
  • Safe, non-threatening learning environment
  • Clear statement of objectives, requirements , expectations
  • Stimulation of active attention
  • Opportunity for practice
  • Relevance of topic or task
  • Self-management of learning
requirements for effective learning by adults
Requirements for Effective Learning by Adults
  • Organization of process & activities to support learning
  • Reinforcement/recognition of accomplishment
  • Constructive suggestions for improvement
  • Engagement of prior learning
  • Topics or tasks are relevant to learner goals
  • Extension of learning to other areas, topics
  • “An emerging technology for adult learning” (Knowles, 1970)
  • Assumes that adults:
      • move naturally from dependency to self-direction,
      • draw on prior experience to support new learning,
      • want to learn when they take on new roles,
      • are motivated to apply new learning or skills immediately.
how do i plan evaluate an effective learning session
How Do I Plan & Evaluate an Effective Learning Session?

An effective educator of adults will:

  • recognize that adults may be used to learning pedagogically -- but want & need to move toward andragogic learning,
  • generate a safe & cooperative environment,
  • diagnose learner needs & interests,
  • engage learners in the planning & evaluation process.
more steps to an effective learning session
More Steps to an Effective Learning Session
  • Create relevant objectives consistent with identified needs & interests.
  • Design a sequence of activities to support accomplishment of the objectives.
  • Vary the methods, resources, etc.
  • Request & apply feedback from learners.*
  • Continually search for methods to improve the process & outcomes.*
  • Evaluate & adjust the process.*

*Iterative steps

  • The system of learning most characteristic of medical students is:
      • Andragogy
      • Pedagogy
      • A combination of Andragogy & Pedagogy
  • An effective learning session requires:
      • A relevant topic with all objectives supplied by the students.
      • Participation by the learners in the planning process.
      • Use of a single, focused teaching method.

3. A characteristic of adult learners is:

  • Adults want to organize their own learning in order to address a perceived need or solve a problem.
  • Adults will use new information only after receiving enough feedback to be certain they know how to apply their learning.
  • Adults prefer to be guided in the learning process & to have the instructor create all of the learning objectives.

4. Evaluating a learning session for adults requires:

  • giving a written or online exam,
  • requesting & applying learner feedback,
  • using the same teaching method consistently.