What are some of the ways that teaching adults varies from teaching adolescents?
What are two ways to vary an instructional module or training plan presentation for adult learners?Adult learners differ from school-age learners in many ways. First, because adult learners have life experience, they tend to be less likely to simply accept information. The instructor must have fact-based references to prove the material being taught is valid. Secondly, adult learners expect material to be relevant and applicable to their current life situation. This often means that class instruction needs to be focused more on the application of the material, and not the why or the how of the concept. For example, adult learners are more concerned about the relevance of a current law and how if applies to their current job than they are about the prior case history or the events that led to the actual law. Adult learners also expect to be active, hands-on participants in their learning experience. A typical two hour lecture is likely to be ineffective with adult learners. Instead, they want and need the opportunity to practice the concepts in in class and receive immediate feedback from the instructor. One way to modify an instructional plan for adult learners would be to change the delivery format. When teaching youth, it may be perfectly acceptable for the instructor to deliver a lecture and then quiz the students on the material. However, adult learners do not have the same authority concept of the instructor, and are likely to treat the instructor as more of a peer. Therefore, the class material should be delivered in more of a discussion based method, where the adult learners and the instructor have constant two-way communication. For example, the instructor may pose a question to the class, allow for a short class discussion on the topic, and then provide a brief explanation or demonstration of the concept. The instructor would then repeat a similar procedure for the next objective of the lesson. Another way to vary introduction to meet the needs of the adult learner is to use an advanced presentation tool to deliver the information. This may include tools such as Prezi which allow the instructor to provide a more visually engaging presentation. Another alternative would be to include a web conference or video chat with a known expert in the field, allowing students to ask questions directly to the guest expert. Not only would this engage the adult learners in the material, but it would also allow the students to ask specific questions in order to determine how the material could be applicable to their own careers or lives.




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