02 Feb 2018


Adult learning can be both formal and informal and most times, it’s always through distance method but so many factors pop up to disrupt and discourage them to learn. Some are frustrated by the method of learning because they don’t have prior experience with technology and required assistance from their instructors, for some, it could be the inability to mix family life, work life and study time together, and the belief that they are too old to start learning some things among others.

When it comes to the use of technological tools, adults have some sense of resentment towards them because they believe they are made of the younger generation. But the need for distance learning has made it necessary for them to use these tools even though many of them have a poor attitude towards it, and with these attitudes, even the best computer-based content will fail because they are not interested at all.

Adult learners enjoy taking responsibility for their own learning, and when they are properly guided they are capable of achieving a high level of competency.

What Can Instructors Do?

Being an adult learner’s instructor isn’t easy because they have a lot of on their sleeves that easily discourage and distract them, however, several methods and strategy can be used to keep them focused and arouse their interest.

  • Course designers need to understand the needs of adult learners, their motivations, expectations, and experience level and out these in consideration while designing courses.
  • World Wide Web has made opportunities for distance learning easy, however, developers teaching informal courses can use the procedural or “how-to” method for their content.
  • Designers creating formal contents that are computer-based should ensure that the content is directly applicable and relatable to them. They have a low tolerance for learning without a purpose.
  • To ensure higher success rates in distance learning settings, lend expert advice to help them to handle technical issues surrounding the content delivery. Because, if, adult learners should find themselves spending too much time completing a program they feel could be done using the traditional method, they are likely to drop out of the learning process.
  • Encourage feedback, to gain insight on how well to design your contents to better suit them.
  • Make use of videos to deliver your courses because listening to audio alone can be boring at times. They need to see and be able to relate well to the person behind the voice. You can engage in live discussions where you can take their questions and answer them directly, let your courses be visual, so they can see and learn better.
  • Make your courses challenging at times, you can challenge them to look for answers, challenge them to do things, don’t do all the activity alone, don’t just give out answers like that, let them also look for the answers. This can make the course interesting to them.
  • Use chunky method, bite-sized information should be encouraged because it will help them to understand better within a short period and they can remember quite well what they’ve learned.
  • You should learn to sound inspiring and motivating, make use of real-life stories they can relate with, this will make them glued and they’ll always want to come back to hear more and learn more.
  • As a content developer in cases where the instruction is a live discussion or an online course, try as much as possible to respect them, never disrespect them or disregard in your training.
  • Mistakes are proof that you are trying, so try as much as possible as their instructor, to accept their mistakes because they can also learn through this. “Mistakes are lessons” remember!!

Once adult learners have gained confidence in their ability to learn and use the technology medium efficiently, they are far more likely to report positive attitudes towards using technology and distance learning as a means of self-improvement.


Article by: Busayo Tomoh

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