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Five Effective Ways to Promote Adult Learning

David Pagoumian

An executive with the international firm CRC Insurance Services, David Pagoumian helps provide clients with well-crafted property insurance plans. Also concerned with personal development, David Pagoumian understands the importance of gaining new insights as an adult.

Malcolm Knowles, a leader in the field of adult education, advocated five principles of educating adults.

Perhaps most importantly, he believed it was essential for adults to understand the importance of the subject. As opposed to childhood when they have to learn by rote, adults want to achieve personal or career goals, and seek to apply new information.
Adults like to use a learning style suited to them, instead of following the teacher’s mode of presentation. They may enjoy learning through vision (illustrations or diagrams), hearing (following vocal cues and engaging in discussion), or touching (learning with their hands on). Many adults use a combination of the three.
Teachers should involve adults in experiential activities, such as making models, experimenting, devising skits, or small group discussions - anything that unchains them from the desk.
If adults have chosen to attend a class, they are ready to learn. If they bring up topics at a time not of the teacher’s choosing, the teacher should adapt the lesson to the moment.
Finally, teachers should remember that re-entering the classroom challenges most adults, especially if they have been gone a long time. Patient encouragement will help them open up and be receptive to learning. Adults usually rise to well-stated expectations.

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