In this paper, we have addressed the process of learning using information-processing theory and described some key principles of adult learning. We have also applied that information to the development and implementation of a course or lesson. Some of the keys points to remember are:

  • The job of the instructor is to help students attend to important information and then organize and encode it so that it can be stored in the long-term memory and retrieved when it is needed. This includes retrieving what students already know (prerequisites) and combining it with what is to be learned.
  • Adults learn best when they are active, engaged in problem solving, working with others, and bringing their experiences to bear on the learning.
  • Advance organizers, practice and feedback, and situation-based testing can all be used successfully to promote learning with adults.
  • Online, face-to-face, and hybrid delivery are all options when presenting instruction. Regardless of the delivery methodology, all courses must use a systematic planning process when you are designing them.
  • Develop your PP presentation with an eye toward adult students and I-P learning theory. Use slides that promote student curiosity, require students to solve problems, and provide simulated, real-life situations.


This document is part of the Solar Energy Education and Training Best Practices document series.  Other resources available online are referenced throughout this document with web-addresses and hyperlinks. Text-only resources are listed below.

Ambrose, S. A., Bridges, M. W., DiPietro, M., Lovett, M. C., & Norman, M. K., 2010. How learning works: Seven Research-Based Principles for Smart Teaching. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.


For the next 72 hours, you can download any IREC report without having to fill out this form again!

This feature requires the use of cookies in your browser. Check your browser settings if you experience any problems.