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The Adult Learner. Some thoughts…. The job of an educator is to teach students to see vitality in themselves. -- Joseph Campbell. What is the job of the mentor/coach of adult learners?. How are adult learners different from children?. How Do You Learn Best?.

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the adult learner

The Adult Learner

Some thoughts…

how do you learn best
How Do You Learn Best?

What were the conditions for your most significant learning experience as an adult?

what is the context
What is the Context?
  • The physical, emotional, and intellectual environment that surrounds an experience and gives it meaning.
  • Am I safe?
  • Am I being heard?
  • Am I respected?
learning by experience
Learning By Experience
  • “All genuine education comes about through experience.” – John Dewey, 1938
  • Not all experience educates…
  • What is the difference between a learning experience and an experience?
          • The key is the ability to reflect honestly.
six principles of andragogy
Six Principles of Andragogy
  • The learners need to know
  • Self-concept of the learner
  • Prior experience of the learner
  • Readiness to learn
  • Orientation to learning
  • Motivation to learn

Malcolm Knowles

learners need to know
Learners Need to Know
  • How Learning will be conducted…

* Tied to motivation

* Academic

* Physical self-efficacy

  • What learning will occur…
    • It is all about Choice!
  • Why the learning is important…
personal attention
Personal Attention
  • The Hawthorne effect – Elton Mayo (1927)

Improvements are gained through attention.

      • Mentoring
      • Coaching
      • Positive Reinforcement
      • People’s feelings are the cornerstone for implementing change
what might be the most important aspect of teaching adult learners
What might be the most important aspect of teaching adult learners?
  • Your feelings?
  • Their feelings?
how might you group the adult learners in your school
How might you group the adult learners in your school?
  • What criteria would you use to group these learners?
  • Now think about how you would group a classroom of student learners?
  • What is the same? Different?

What is important is to keep learning, to enjoy challenge, and to tolerate ambiguity. In the end there are no certain answers.-- Martina Horner

  • Is it acceptable to send an email without the name on the email?
  • Is acceptable to send an email titled “Hey”
  • What does it mean if a guy and a girl are talking?
effective communication techniques
Effective Communication Techniques
  • Listen Carefully
  • Try to see their point of view
  • Respond to criticism with empathy
  • Own what’s yours
  • Use “I” messages
  • Don’t give up…But know when to take a break…
seven protocols for professional learning
Seven Protocols for Professional Learning
  • Sustained Professional Learning: It’s not going away!

Give the adult learner the big picture, offer options for learning, support their practice stages, and they will take charge of their own learning paths.

job embedded professional learning help when i need it
Job-Embedded Professional Learning: Help When I Need it!
  • When support is visible, available, and accessible all day, every day, the rate of success for implementing new initiatives increases phenomenally.
collegial professional learning someone to talk to
Collegial Professional Learning: Someone to talk to
  • Adult Learners want to work with colleagues (Knowles et al 1998; Zemke and Zemke 1981)
interactive professional learning it s not a sit and git
Interactive Professional Learning: It’s Not a ‘Sit and Git’
  • Adult Learners don’t want theoretical or hypothetical learning. They want hands-on learning!
integrative professional learning different strokes for different folks
Integrative Professional Learning: Different Strokes for Different Folks
  • Face-to-face
  • Internet
  • Web-based
  • Collegial
  • Group
  • Book Studies
  • Action Research
practical professional learning i can use this
Practical Professional Learning: I can Use this!
  • Make the learning relevant for your adult learners.
  • Hold the learner accountable for the learning!
results oriented professional learning the data tell us so
Results-Oriented Professional Learning: The Data tell us so!
  • The professional learning must be data-driven. In other words, “Does this Work?’
  • “How do I know if this works?”
your task
Your task…
  • React to each of the Seven Protocols
  • How does this represent your own interest in learning new information/material?
  • How do you see this impact your ability to provide professional development?
strategies for adult learners
Strategies for Adult Learners

Brainstorming and Discussion

  • Why? Dialogue enables adults to achieve deeper meaning and understanding because they can utilize the skills of inquiry, reflection, and exploration (Gregory, 2003)
  • The brain’s thought processes are best challenged when quality questions are asked (Berlinger, 1984)
drawing and artwork
Drawing and Artwork
  • Presenters who draw add creativity to visuals, which increases memory and attention (Jensen, 1998)
  • Expressing oneself artistically has extreme value for total cognitive and personal development (hannahford, 1995)
field trips
Field Trips
  • Research suggest that professional developers, administrators, or college professors who plan and execute field trips enable their students to apply theory and knowledge (Jensen and Dabney, 2000).
  • They must be directly related to the standard or content objective.
  • The neuroscientifc research supports the idea that having fun while learning meets the needs of learners.
  • Games utilize creative rehearsal, the most basic level of active processing in the brain (Caine & Ojemann, 1997).
  • Play establishes specific myelinated pathways between the frontal lobe and the limbic system, representing full integration of mind and body (Hannahford, 1995)
graphic organizers
Graphic Organizers
  • Graphic Organizers heighten the memory pathways for learning and retention.
  • Understanding of concepts, whether those concepts are concrete, abstract, verbal, or nonverbal, can be enhanced through the use of concept maps (Sousa, 1995)
humor and celebration
Humor and Celebration
  • Humor enlivens participants, reduces tension, and increases productivity and creativity (Feigelson, 1998)
  • The most powerful influence on the brain’s chemical composition may be positive feedback—a necessary element in the development of a healthy self-concept (Sylwester, 1997)
manipulatives and models
Manipulatives and Models
  • The most effective teaching techniques for increasing intelligence unite both the mind and the body (Wilson, 1999)
  • An area of the brain’s cortex is stimulated when a person moves, just like a timed explosion in the head (Calvin, 1996)
metaphors analogies and similes
Metaphors, Analogies, and Similes

Myelin is Crisco

Amygdala:Emotion:Hippocampus:Long Term Memory

The brain is like Jello

  • Metaphors connect concepts that are complicated to understand with personal experience and foster a sense of creativity (Whitin &Whitin, 1997)
reciprocal teaching cooperative learning and peer coaching
Reciprocal Teaching, Cooperative Learning and Peer Coaching

Some of us are more effective than others of us.

But non of us is more effective than all of us!

Johnson, Hohnson, Holubec, and Roy

  • Would you like me to tell you a story? 
  • Information is tied in our memories to the scripts that stories provide (Markowitz & Jensen, 1999).
  • Mind First –Reality Second
  • Work Study and Action Research