Knowing a little about how adults learn can also make you a more effective teacher. Adults learn in the same way children do but have special needs and requirements as students.

Malcolm Knowles, a pioneer in adult learning, based his work on the concept of andragogy (the art and science of how adults learn). He noted that adults:

  • Need to know why they are learning something
  • Learn through doing
  • Are problem solvers
  • Learn best when the subject is of immediate use
  • Prefer social interaction
  • Want to use their life experiences in the classroom
  • Want to integrate new ideas with existing knowledge

To read more about principles of adult learning and to find specific adult-learning techniques and strategies, go to:

See also: Good Teaching Matters: Five Teaching Practices to Improve the Quality of a Training Course. This short article discusses a “learner-centered” culture in education and training and describes how instruction can be designed to capitalize on what we know about learning and adults.

Key tips for teaching adults


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