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How to Teach Adult Learners Tips, Techniques, and a little Theory.

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Presentation on theme: "How to Teach Adult Learners Tips, Techniques, and a little Theory."— Presentation transcript:

1 How to Teach Adult Learners Tips, Techniques, and a little Theory

2 How To Train the Aging Brain Based on article by Barbara Strauch in the New York Times, 3 Jan 2010

3 Aging Brain Barbara Strauch Science editor, New York Times The Secret Life of the Grown-up Brain: The Surprising Talents of the Middle-Aged Mind (2010)

4 Aging Brain Brain Scans Prove: Middle-aged brain is more flexible and more capable than previously thought

5 Aging Brain Middle age now defined to include the 40s through late 60s.

6 Aging Brain Through middle age, the brain gets better at recognizing the central idea distinguishing patterns and seeing significance and solutions… faster than a young person.

7 Aging Brain

8 Seattle Longitudinal Study started in 1956 systematically tracked the mental capabilities of 6000 people for almost 50 years.

9 Aging Brain “During … modern middle age — roughly age forty through the sixties — the people in the study did better on tests of the most important and complex cognitive skills than the same group of people had when they were in their twenties.”

10 Aging Brain “In four out of six of the categories tested — vocabulary verbal memory spatial orientation inductive reasoning people performed best, on average, between the ages of forty to sixty- five.” [numerical ability, perceptual speed]

11 Aging Brain "The highest level of functioning in four of the six mental abilities considered occurs in midlife. For both men and women, peak performance... is reached in middle age.”

12 Aging Brain Pygmalion effect – The work of Rosenthal and Jacobsen (1968), among others, shows that teacher expectations influence student performance.

13 Aging Brain

14 3 Sept 2014 “Computer Use Keeps Brain in High Gear”

15 Computer Use Keeps Brain in High Gear “English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA): Can Internet/ Use Reduce Cognitive Decline?” The study used a large group — 6,400 adults in Britain — ages 50 to 89, with annual retests for eight years. As tests of memory, they were given 10-word lists for later recall. The conclusion was that good health, financial status and education — and digital literacy — resulted in better memory. Those who didn’t use the Internet showed declines. Current users increased their recall capability.

16 “Key is that little caveat about financial status. Not everyone can afford a computer and Internet access. However, there are ways to get around this. Senior centers often give classes on Internet browsing, use of cellphones, useful computer programs like and bookkeeping, and the like. And if they don’t have computers that seniors can use, the library usually does.” Computer Use Keeps Brain in High Gear

17 How To Teach Adults …and Why… Or “Grown-ups Are Not Just Big Kids”

18 Levine, J. (2001). The challenges of helping adults learn: characteristics of adult learners & implications for teaching technical information. Impatient or urgent Definite needs or goals, problem centered approach Need quick success Have experience to share Fearful of embarrassment Easily frustrated Established values, beliefs and opinions Need to feel self-directed How-to rather than theory Increased variation in learning styles Need to be treated as adults

19 Pedagogy Andragogy

20 Types of Adult Learners Traditionalist or Silent Born between 1925 and 1945 Baby Boomer Born between 1946 and 1964 Gen X Born between 1965 and 1980 Millennial or Gen Y Born between 1981 and late 1990s

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22 Types of Adult Learners Based on learning style (VAK)* Visual – rely on images Auditory – rely on sounds Tactile/Kinesthetic – rely on physical interaction

23 Kolb* Doer (Dynamic) – hands on Feeler (Imaginative – unstructured Observer (Analytical) – watching, listening Thinker (Common Sense) – analyzing, discussing Types of Adult Learners

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25 Adult Learner Characteristics 6 Basic Characteristics of Adult Learners (Malcolm Knowles) Are internally motivated and self-directed Bring life experiences & knowledge to learning Are goal-oriented Are relevancy-oriented Are practical Want to be respected

26 Adult Learner Characteristics 5 Principles for the Teacher of Adults (Malcolm Knowles) Adults learn best when Understand why something is important Freedom to learn their own way Learning is experiential Time is right Process is positive and encouraging

27 Questions? Comments? Discussion?

28 Adult Learner Characteristics and Teaching Implications

29 Adult learner characteristics Principles of adult learning Teaching implications Adults want to take more control over learning than youth. As adults are self-directed in their lives, they transfer this need for independence to the learning situation. Adults are autonomous and self directed.  ask for their preferences when possible  allow them to choose among different activities  implement self- assessment

30 Adult learner characteristics Principles of adult learning Teaching implications Adults draw upon their experiences as a resource for learning. Adults have accumulated a foundation of experiences and knowledge.  use their experiences as background or as a resource for learning  connect their previous knowledge with their new knowledge

31 Adult learner characteristics Principles of adult learning Teaching implications Adults tend to be more motivated than youth. Remember that they choose to take your class. Adults are goal oriented. They have clear objectives for attending a course.  show them the objectives of the class  invite them to share their objectives and make them part of the plan  maintain their motivation through varied and relevant activities

32 Adult learner characteristics Principles of adult learning Teaching implications Adults are pragmatic. They want to put what they learn immediately into practice. Adults are relevancy oriented and practical.  don’t spend too much time with theory  show the applicability of the new knowledge  try to put the students’ needs first  make them use what you’ve taught immediately

33 Adult learner characteristics Principles of adult learning Teaching implications The learner role is secondary for adults, and they must fit their learning into life’s margins. Since they have many roles in life, being a student is not their main priority. Adults need to be shown respect.  establish a peer relationship with them  give all the students the same opportunities  be flexible, adapt to the class

34 Adult learner characteristics Principles of adult learning Teaching implications Adults are pragmatic. They want to put what they learn immediately into practice. Adults are relevancy oriented and practical.  don’t spend too much time with theory  show the applicability of the new knowledge  try to put the students’ needs first  make them use what you’ve taught immediately

35 Adult learner characteristicsTeaching implications Many adults lack confidence in their learning because of negative past experiences and “rusty” study skills.  use confidence-building activities  teach study skills (resource lists, handouts)  use pairs and groups to reduce anxiety

36 Adult learner characteristicsTeaching implications Adults are more resistant to change. They are comfortable with what they know and what works for them.  explain the reasons underlying the changes  link new ideas with previous ones  introduce changes slowly, one by one

37 Adult learner characteristicsTeaching implications Adults must compensate for aging in learning. Though adults may have problems related with age, such as sight or mobility, they learn slowly but more deeply.  check the learning environment (next unit)  check your pace to give them time to process the information

38 Questions? Comments? Discussion?


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