Characteristics of Adult Learners

It is no secret that adults are vastly different from children therefore the ways that they learn needs to reflect these differences. A child is pretty much dependent until thinking for ones self is discovered. As adults we desire a more independent, self-directed style of learning in which the responsibility of teaching and evaluation is shared between teacher and student. A mature student is typically rich in life experience and values and has chosen the path of education to grow and expand on this existing foundation. An internal motivation exists that gives an adult learner the appetite to gain more relevant knowledge that can be used to solve problems that may come up at work or in life.

When it becomes my time to instruct there is a good chance that a majority of apprentices may be younger adults. As much as it is hard for me to admit, social media will likely be a viable tool to help keep a younger generation entertained. A class page where students can post and discuss relevant topics, bringing their own ideas, interests and concepts to the discussion would be possible route.

The art of swapping stories from the job site along with sharing tricks of the trade that have been learned in the field could be a practical and engaging way to have students learn from each others experience. Semi-formal discussion on the variety of ways to  do the job would be an interesting way to learn, build confidence and get to know fellow students.

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