Instructional Design: Adult Learners

The fundamental principles of adult learning. (Notes created from the course taken at:

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Instructional Design: Adult Learners by Mind Map: Instructional Design: Adult Learners

1. 1. Applying Adult Learning Theory

1.1. 2. Six (6) Important Principles for the Adult Learner

1.1.1. 1. Need to Know - Learning takes effort and concentration, so adults need to know the reason they're being asked to learn. It's important to share the PURPOSE of an activity and/or its OBJECTIVES.

1.1.2. 2. Experience - Learning is easier when we can build on existing knowledge, so participants prior experience should provide the basis for many of the learning activities.

1.1.3. 3. Self - Concept - This means that adults need to be responsible for their learning decisions. For eg. the ability to skp around from video to video within a course or to avoid certain activities.

1.1.4. 4. Readiness - Adults learn best when training/learning can be used to solve a problem. Motivation increases when there's a reason to learn.

1.1.5. 5. Problem Orientation - Adults learn best when learning is problem oriented rather than content oriented.

1.1.6. 6. Intrinsic Motivation - Adults learn best when motivation comes from within, rather than relying on external motivations such as prizes or incentives.

1.2. 1. Three (3) Primary Approaches to Adult Learning

1.2.1. These 3 approaches are all ACTIVE learning methods.

1.2.2. 1. Cognitive Approach - This learning theory emphasizes the acquisition of knowledge. This approach is effective when students need to memorize and retain information, such as procedures or policies. Instructional strategies might include repetition, chunking info into smaller pieces, providing reference chart cards, etc. FOCUS: is on helping students memorize information through active participation.

1.2.3. 2. Behaviourist Approach - Is when one can demonstrate proficiency with various skills. The theory emphasizes the acquisition of skills through the achievement of performance objectives. This approach works well anytime students need to acquire specific skills. Hands - on skills are key! FOCUS: is having learners actively demonstrate their skills.

1.2.4. 3. Constructivist Approach - Brainstorming a list of something based on prior experience; this theory emphasizes experiential learning where lessons are learned through the process of discovery. This approach works well for any skill where people rely on instinct and/or intuition. Examples include team building and leadership. David Kolb's Experiential Learning Model: 1. Concrete Experience - have they done this before? 2. Reflective Observation - think about what worked or didn't work in the past 3. Abstract Conceptualization - learners set new intentions/goals? for handling similar situations in the future. 4. Active Experimentation - this is where learners try out new ideas. FOCUS: is on helping learners discover new ideas or concepts through experiential learning.

1.3. 3. Four (4) Stages of Learning/Competency

1.3.1. 1. Unconscious Incompetent (Bliss Stage) - can appear like over-confidence in one's abilities.

1.3.2. 2. Conscious Incompetent - when one realizes actually how much they don't know; confidence can drop dramatically.

1.3.3. 3. Conscious Competent - when learners can do something at a minimal level, but they feel self-conscious about it; this is an uncomfortable feeling for many students; self-confidence may still be low at this stage.

1.3.4. 4. Unconscious Competent - Learners at this stage know something well enough that they no longer have to think about it at a conscious level. High confidence; high ability.

2. 2. Active Learning Techniques

2.1. 1. Active vs. Passive Learning

2.1.1. Active learners learn more than passive ones. They actively engage in the learning process by reflecting, taking notes etc.

2.1.2. Adult learners need to be challenged. They need to be able to apply new skills actively/hands on.

2.1.3. Active learners show their learning; it can be confirmed that they've learned b/c it's visible.

2.1.4. Active learners can get feedback on their performance that will reinforce what they are doing well.

2.1.5. EXAMPLES of Active Learning: 1. Hands-on activities 2. Group Discussion 3. Quizzes 4. Webinar with Interactive Tools 5. Games/Simulations

2.2. 2. Aligning Training w/ Learning Styles

2.2.1. Adult learners have different preferences when it comes to how they learn. Incorporating a variety of learning styles into training programs can make learning more effective for all students.

2.2.2. Three (3) Basic Learning Styles It's important to incorporate all 3 learning styles when teaching adult learners. 1. VISUAL - learners prefer seeing; eg: pictures, demonstrations, videos, powerpoints etc. 2. AUDITORY - learners prefer listening; eg: lectures and group discussions etc. 3. KINESTHETIC - learners prefer doing; eg: hands-on activities, activities that require movement etc.

2.3. 3. Creating Active Learning Techniques

2.3.1. 1. Borrow - Borrowing activities from other teachers; books, websites, apps etc.

2.3.2. 2. Reuse - Reuse activities for a variety of other lessons.

2.3.3. 3. Create - Create activities when you can't borrow or reuse; start with a goal, then determine the best Learning Approach (Cognitive, Behaviourist or Constructivist), then create activities that will help students achieve their goal(s).

3. 3. Overcoming Learning Barriers

3.1. 1. Identifying Common Learning Barriers

3.1.1. Adults can face a lot of obstacles when learning something new. 1. SQUISH - this type of learning/training if often referred to as soft skills training b/c learning objectives aren't clearly defined. To solve this it's better to focus on a specific set of skills. Using the four stages of the group development model: 2. NO PROOF - these are activities that don't really tell us whether someone has actually learned anything. Lectures where learners are passive is an example of no proof. To solve this, the teacher needs to design activities that involve the students in active learning activities. 3. I SORT OF GOT IT - some learners may reach the unconscious competent stage and may see it as not working b/c this stage is uncomfortable to be in; some may stay in the unconscious incompetent stage b/c there were no additional follow up lessons, plans or check-ins. 4. THE VORTEX - being trained while also working; show learners how to apply their news skills right after training. 5. USE IT OR LOSE IT - knowledge & skills get harder for adult learners to access the longer it remains dormant; Solution: teach/train people right before they are going to use it.

3.2. 2. Incorporating the 70-20-10 Rule into Teaching/Learning

3.2.1. 70 % = own experiences Most learning occurs informally through a person's own experiences.

3.2.2. 20 % = coaching/direction/guiding/teaching

3.2.3. 10 % = formal training

4. 4. Turning Theory into Practice

4.1. 1. Applying Learning Theory into Instructional Practice

4.1.1. a) DESIGN - where you create a learning approach that will help students achieve the program's goals.

4.1.2. b) DEVELOPMENT - where the teacher creates specific learning activities and training materials to help the students learn

4.1.3. Learning Objective comes FIRST, Fun/Creativity comes SECOND!

4.1.4. SIMPLE is better than COMPLICATED!