Andragogy (Adult Learning)
by Harley Voogd
Obviously, teaching children (pedagogy) is very different from teaching adults. Below are some notes on how to teach adults…
- Adults are self-directed in their learning. Rather than passively listening to a lecture, adults like to be engaged in the class forcing them to take responsibility for their own learning. Adults like to discuss what’s being learned and provide their own input.
- Adults have a lot of previous knowledge. They need to know how this new material will tie into what they already know.
- For adults, the content must be relevant. Too much useless information will just make the adult student bored and the material will be forgotten. Adults need a reason to learn this new material. “How is this class going to help me get ahead?” is what the adult student asks. The course material must be relevant to the student’s life and work.
- Adults are goal oriented and want to know early on in the course how we’re going to get “from here to there.” Even if the content relates to their life and work, pointless “bunny trails” will only distract and frustrate the adult student.
- Adults are problem oriented and are attending the class to find answers to specific problems. If the teacher doesn’t have those answers, the adult student loses interest in, and respect for, the class.
- The class needs to be fun, but not in a childish way. Activities also should be used to engage the student, but not insult their intelligence.
- The teacher should strive to use visual (charts/diagrams/models), auditory (lecture), and kinaesthetic (hands-on activities) stimuli when teaching adults.