Lesson Planning Components: Characteristics of Adult Learners
“Adult learners come with a variety of experiences, both in terms of working life and educational backgrounds. This impacts on how and why they participate in learning.” (Wynne, Rhonda, p.1).
Connecting with all adult students based on their individual diversities is challenging. However, applying Knowles’ Theory of Andragogy reminds me of the commonalities all adults share. Providing reason(s) why they need to learn something, applying as much task-oriented or experimental learning as possible, communicating clearly to avoid confusion and being there “to provide guidance and help when mistakes are made” (eLearning Industry, p.5), but allowing adult students to be part of the learning experience supports successful engagement and learning.
Wynne, Rhonda. Learner Centred Methodologies: Characteristics of Adult Learners. Asset Project Info, Socrates Education and Culture. http://www.assetproject.info/learner_methodologies/before/characteristics.htm.
eLearning Industry (May 09, 2013). The Adult Learning Theory – Andragogy – of Malcolm Knowles. http://www.slideshare.net/elearningindustry/the-adult-learning-theory-andragogy-of-malcolm-knowles
Lesson Planning Components: Creating a Positive Learning Environment
Creating a positive learning environment for all of your adult students is so important. When an adult student enters your classroom for the first time, a first impression of you develops. They study your personality and how you communicate and conduct yourself as their educator. The classroom rules you establish regarding acceptable behavior, expectations and consequences will be a measure of how fair, supportive, approachable and understanding you are. Establishing yourself as a potentially positive influence in your adult students’ eyes will provide a willingness on their part to participate in and support this positive learning environment you intend to establish.
Lesson Planning Components: Instructional Process/Strategies
The effectiveness of your teaching has a direct correlation with the instructional process/strategies you apply in creating your lesson plans for adult students. At the beginning of each lesson plan, you must remember to include the reason(s) as to why they must learn something. To support continuous active learning, lesson plans should vary in their structure to avoid dullness, boredom and limited attention-span. From the beginning to the end of the lesson plan, adult students should be engaged, able to understand and retain the information they have learned and provide themselves with a direct link from the knowledge learned to the relevancy and benefit it serves their individual needs.
Lesson Planning Components: Media (possible considerations)
The use of media within the classroom allows an adult educator the unlimited power and resources to be as creative as they want to be. Adult students welcome a classroom where the presentation and structure of lesson plans varies. Media allows an adult educator the ability to touch on all types of learning styles, therefore avoiding student boredom and effectively teaching and catching the attention of all students within the class. Whether it be with the use of video, PowerPoint, simulations, interesting handouts or online resources, the more creative and flexible you are in your teaching; the more enthusiastic and engaging your students will be to learn.
Lesson Planning Components: Motivational Techniques
Motivational techniques you apply in the classroom will be a true measure of how effective your teaching is and how engaged and successful your adult students will be. Keeping your adult students excited about learning, knowing that they enjoy and find value in attending your class every day, allowing them to be responsible and contribute to their learning, showing them the relevance of what they are learning and being supportive, honest and sincere in your teachings and how you conduct yourself as their educator will contribute not only to the success of your students, but you as an effective educator.