Adult Learning Techniques

Studies on attention span shed light on why students have difficulty with the traditional lecture format. Adult learners can keep tuned in to a lecture for no more than 15 to 20 minutes at a time, and this at the beginning of a workshop. Participants must engage the material to retain it. Presentations should be punctuated with periodic activities of 10-30 minutes duration to enable learners to become re-energized for the next 15- to 20-minute didactic presentation.

Concepts you can practice

  • Dialogue - interaction between learners and instructors.
  • Supportive atmosphere - a comfortable environment facilitates learning along with a nurturing instructor.
  • Encouragement of cooperative communication - clear opportunities for discussion between learners and instructors and learners amongst each other.

Adults respond best to learning that is

  • Active
  • Experience-based
  • Recognizing the learner as an expert
  • Real-life centered
  • Task-centered
  • Problem-centered
  • Solution-driven
  • Skill-seeking
  • Self-directing

Workshop Participation Feedback

Rally participants from years past relate to us that their favorite presenters do several things:

  • Sticks to the workshop description.
  • Focus on the main topic quickly (one presenter works better than a panel of 3 or 4).
  • Find a balance between involving participants (through small group activities, etc.) and providing 'expert advice' on the workshop topic.
  • Are well organized without relying heavily on PowerPoint or giving "a paper".
  • Make presentations widely applicable rather than "case specific".
  • Provide hand outs.
  • Are available as a resource person to follow-up.
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