It’s important to understand that there is no one theory or principle that covers all of the complexities about how people learn. In this blog we’re going to start by looking at Knowles’ 6 Adult Learning Principles.
Adults are internally motivated and self-directed
- Adults need to be free to direct themselves – make sure you involve them in their learning process and build in as much opportunity as you can for your learners to take charge of their learning.
- Adults want respect – for who they are and for the expertise they bring with them. Respect needs to be built into the way the learning program is designed. Adults also want to be able to connect what they are learning to what they already know – it’s how we all make sense of our world.
- They need to know what the end game is, the goal, and how they are going to get there.
- Relevance is enormously important. Your learners need to know how the learning is going to help them. If the learning isn’t relevant, then you are wasting their time.
- If you are designing a workplace-learning program that is compulsory for staff to attend, relevance becomes even more important – it will help your learners to engage with the learning even though it was not their choice to do it.
- If your learners are going to make the effort to learn something, then it needs to be useful. How will the learning help them do their work better/faster/more confidently?
- Keep your design tight and keep it focused on what the learners really need to know and do.
- Your instructional design needs to honour the wisdom in the room, recognize that not all the wisdom is in the room and open up the learning to happen.