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The Principles of Adult Learning are Everywhere!!

Posted by Beth Brashear on 10/9/17 8:00 AM
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Photo by: Daniel Reche via Pixabay

I am currently doing a fitness challenge on Facebook. Each day we are required to respond to a daily assignment and post pictures of our workouts for points. So far, I have really enjoyed being a part of the challenge group and love when the weekly stats are posted and I’m in the lead! However, I do feel there is something missing…


One of the coaches reached out to me and asked how I like the group. Before responding, I wanted to take the time to truly think about the question so I could give her specific feedback. And then it hit me! This is similar to an eLearning environment. Even though we aren’t technically in a class per se, it still feels like an online learning format. The principles of adult learning are woven throughout this structure too. Benefits were identified on Day 1 when we shared our “Why.” Through the daily assignments, we immediately (time orientation) see the relevance to our “Why,” using the knowledge or new skill from the assignment. The assignments also get us participating, and are optional and flexible so we can self-direct and complete them when, and if, we want to.


But there still seems to be a piece missing for me. There’s a lack of discussion. Once we post our assignment and pictures, one or two challengers might “like” them, and our coaches sometimes post comments, but overall there just isn’t much interaction among the participants. So, experiences are not being shared and, while we are participating, we aren’t being very active. In my feedback, I suggested that during the next assignment we add a second component where each challenger posts a question to another challenger’s assignment to help spur a conversation. They tried it the next day and Voilà! There was active participation and experiences being discussed. It was exactly what I was looking for!


This experience has really hit home for me, realizing the principles of adult learning are woven into many components of our lives. To be successful, most or all those principles need to be interjected somehow. Whether you are designing or delivering a traditional or eLearning course, make sure you are incorporating all seven of the principles of adult learning, not just one or two, to ensure your course is the most successful learning environment it can be! 


To learn more about the principles of adult learning and how to incorporate them into your training, check out our How Adults Learn workshop!


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Beth has been a course leader with Langevin since 2015. She currently resides in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. Beth began her training career in 2006 and believes, while training needs to be educational, it also needs to be fun! Outside of the classroom, Beth enjoys spending time with her daughter, reading, playing volleyball, photography, and travelling. She hopes to one day visit India during the Festival of Lights, Mexico for the Day of the Dead Celebration, Rio for the Carnival, and China for the Chinese New Year.

Tags: adult learning principles

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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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