Engaging adult learners

How do you engage adult learners in the learning process? How do you make them attend classroom sessions, contribute to discussions and read through E-learning material? To be honest, I do not know what would work for you. There is no magic formula that can be applied to all adults. Different situations call for different solutions.

What works best for me is giving them an opportunity to learn something that they feel is meaningful. When someone feels that he/she is engaged in something meaningful, they find reasons to get out of bed anticipating an exciting day. This anticipation drives them and in such a heightened state of excitement, it is easier to get them to do things they would otherwise find boring.

My experience with adults/mature learners is that you have to find something that excites them, not necessarily something that would directly benefit the organisation, but something that the participant finds interesting and worthwhile. You have to find a “key” to their minds. In the past, I have found computer classes, cookery, public speaking and specialist skills like Photoshop training are really helpful in luring adult learners back into the classroom.

E-learning too can be helpful when administered right. Training must be a constant effort. It must also be consistent. If forums and interactive platforms are used, there must be daily activities and discussions that will engage and excite the target audience. It doesn’t necessarily have to be directly related to the topic you wish to teach, it can be fun and social and once you have their attention, use subtle methods to deliver the content you wish them to learn like quizzes and games that reward. This can be particularly helpful for topics like product knowledge where a great deal of knowledge requires to be remembered by the participants.


About Hassan Saeed

I am a lifelong learner. I learn every day and I learn from everybody I interact with - I live with this simple philosophy. My goal is to help spread knowledge and information that helps people get better every day. Learning should fit into everyone's daily routine. Learning should empower individuals to achieve more and drive them towards excellence and perfection.
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1 Response to Engaging adult learners

  1. Cegos Asia Pacific (@CegosAPAC) says:

    We need to first understand the audience before we form any kind of learning plan for them. Based on demographics, interest and aptitude, we can decide the type of learning. Elearning is no doubt flexible and convenient but you would be surprised to know that a recent survey (conducted by us in Europe) found over 90% of trained employees experienced classroom training and surprisingly, it is many of today’s younger, tech-savvy generation who appear to be among the biggest advocates of face-to-face training.


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