Best Practices: Connecting with Adult Learners

Acquiring new information as an adult is challenging for a number of reasons. To start, the adult brain is a lot less elastic than the brains of children and teens. This makes it more difficult for the adult brain to retain tons of new incoming information.

Another challenge can be explained by the old saying, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” Adult learners can really struggle to break out of their old habits that they’ve been maintaining for years, even when they are willing and open to changing their ways.

We have some tips to help guide you on this journey. There are so many ways to connect with your adult learners in manageable, sustainable, and enjoyable ways.

Know your audience

Adult learners are typically more experienced and more knowledgeable than younger students. It’s important to take that into account when designing a lesson so that no time is wasted going over basic information that they most likely already understand.

Make it relevant

In order for a lesson to have a positive, sustainable impact on adult learners, they need it to feel relevant. They must be able to take something away from the lesson that will improve their daily lives. By ensuring this understanding from the beginning, adult learners will be more motivated to engage in the lesson.

Explain "why"

Adult learners are unlike most others because, more often than not, they are choosing to learn rather than being required to. Because of this, they need to know why each component of the lesson is important in the grand scheme of thing.

Cater to different learning styles

By now, most adults understand what learning style they are best suited for. Incorporating a variety of activities, presentations, and lectures ensures that each learning style is covered, thus allowing more individuals to benefit from the lesson.

Application is key

Actively applying the newly acquired skills and knowledge during the learning process further cements the prominent points from the lesson. Adult learners are practical, and utilizing what they’ve learned while they are learning it goes a long way in retaining all that new information.