Before you begin delivering any training course it is important to keep in mind some important key principles of adult learning. These points help us all learn more effectively and will contribute to a better sharing of knowledge contained within your training courses.
These five key principles of adult learning should always be considered when delivering and/or attending a training course.
First, learning is a process. As a result, you need to understand that learning does not happen in isolation (e.g., at a single training event or at first reading course material). Instead, it involves how you as a learner relates and even adapt learning to your work and home environments. Once we all recognize that learning is a process we can then apply everything learned to whatever situation is at hand.
Second, we all learn in different ways or possess different styles of learning. Although this may seem like an obvious point, it has many important implications for every training course. As training progresses the trainer should ask ‘is everything OK so far’ or ‘do you understand everything so far and many may state that they are happy with the progress. However, it is quite likely that not all participants may be learning in the same way or at the same pace. As a result, it is essential that trainers and participants aren’t afraid to ask questions. It is also important to have patience if you feel a course is going too slow as it may actually be too fast for others. Basically, none of us ever know when we personally may need some extra time to understand things and will appreciate others’ support when this happens. So, what is important is that everyone learns and hopefully meets their expectations from each course.
Third, learning is improved when it is goal-directed. Research has consistently demonstrated that when clear goals are associated with learning that the learning occurs more easily and rapidly. To illustrate, people who learn to drive so that they can get to and from work generally find the experience easier and apply themselves to reach this end. In contrast, if you were placed on a course not knowing how it could be applied to your working or home environments then the experience could be frustrating and the learning achieved not optimal. Again, this may seem obvious but it is surprising how many participate in courses without a clearly identified purpose.
Fourth, active participation improves the learning process. Research has also shown that actively participating in training events improves how learning is achieved and how long information is retained. As a result, it’s essential that learners aren’t afraid to get involved or to make mistakes. After all, mistakes are some of the best examples of learning and creativity in the world.
Fifth, be open to learning. No matter what current knowledge and skill levels exist with a training topic it is essential that learners are prepared to learn from a course and the other participants.