“Eyes forward. If you can’t pay attention, I’ll rap your knuckles with my ruler.” This may be an echo of a strict Catholic education or it may be a hyperbole of how your child is being trained at school, but either way, it doesn’t have a place in how you educate the adult learners in your organization.
Malcolm Knolwes in his book, The Adult Learner: The Definitive Classic in Adult Education and Human Resource Development , discusses andragogy – or learning for adults – and why it’s different than pedagogy – learning for children. The conclusion is that there are six key assumptions about adult learning:
- Need to Know
Trying to put these together into a single context; it’s clear that adult learners need to be trained at the moment in time that they need the learning (readiness), why they need to know a piece of information (need to know), that they have the foundational concepts necessary to integrate the new information (foundation) and that they have an understanding of the problem they are trying to solve (self-concept). The training must be focused on solving problems (orientation) and the motivation for learning must map to the internal motivations of the student (motivation).