HR Tip of the Week: Understanding the adult learner
Prior to embarking upon the design and development of any learning/development program, it is crucial to pause and consider adult learning principals.
Andragogy is the discipline that studies how adults learn. Pedagogy, conversely, is the study of the education of children. Andragogy is based on the following assumptions about the differences between how adults and children learn:
⁃As people mature, ,their self concept moves from being dependent personalities toward being self-directed human beings.
⁃As people mature, they accumulate a growing reservoir of experience that becomes an increasing resource for learning.
•Readiness to learn
⁃As people mature, their readiness to learn becomes oriented increasingly to the development tasks of their social roles.
•Orientation to learning
⁃As people mature, their time perspective changes from postponed application of knowledge to immediate applicability, and accordingly, their orientation toward learning shifts from subject-focused to problem-focused.
•Motivation to learn
⁃As people mature, their motivation to learn becomes increasingly internal.
•”Unlearn to learn”
⁃As people mature, they are often entrenched in how they approach experiences and other learning interventions. Adult learning interventions need to help them accept fresh perspectives and embrace new ways to do things.
Learning and development programs need to be designed to meet the needs of adult learners.