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5 Timeless Adult Learning Principles

Posted by Langevin Team on 5/5/14 4:00 AM
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Photo by: Ulrike Mai via Pixabay

We certainly live in a time where technology has created an environment of incredible change. Techniques, methods of operation, and even ideals become outdated almost as fast as they get introduced. However, there are certain products that are still as relevant, and of the same high quality now as they were decades ago, when they were first invented. Some things do not need to change; we often refer to these as “oldies, but goodies.”


The adult learning principles, which should be incorporated into the instructional design and delivery of your courses, fall into this category. So, here are five adult learning principles that are relevant for you today, and will be for years to come.

1. Adults want to know what there is to gain, and to see progress being made.

2. Adults want to focus on real-life problems.

3. Adults want to be active by participating in their learning.

4. Adults wish to speak, participate, and contribute.

5. Adults need to have their self-esteem maintained.


The great thing about these principles is they are not overloaded with complicated theory and explanations. Instead, they are the common-sense basics. Many of the problems and challenges we’ve heard over the years, from instructors, instructional designers, and managers, have been solved by these “oldies, but goodies.”


As a classroom trainer and/or instructional designer, always incorporate these five principles and you are guaranteed to be successful! If you’d like to experience these principles in action, attend Langevin's workshop, How Adults Learn—available as a public workshop or online in the virtual classroom.


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Tags: adult learning principles, tips-for-trainers, instructional design

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Our very own world-class course leaders share their experiences, tips, best practices, and expertise on virtual training, instructional design, needs analysis, e-learning, delivery, evaluation, presentation skills, facilitation, and much more!

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