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Principles of Adult Learning

Principles of Adult Learning. What Do Adults Need for Effective Learning? . OBJECTIVES. Describe the differences between learning styles of the adult & child. Identify the essential characteristics and requirements of effective adult learning.

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Principles of Adult Learning

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  1. Principles of Adult Learning What Do Adults Need for Effective Learning?

  2. OBJECTIVES • Describe the differences between learning styles of the adult & child. • Identify the essential characteristics and requirements of effective adult learning. • Be prepared to apply this information in planning & evaluating an effective learning session for medical students.

  3. What is Adult Learning? • Adults learn differently than children • Pedagogy describes the system through which children learn. • Andragogydescribes the system through which adults learn. • Medical students combine both systems • the learning expectations of an adult, • learning skills developed in childhood.

  4. Pedagogy • teacher-centered • learner is dependent on teacher • prior knowledge is limited • teacher defines task & goals

  5. Andragogy • learner-centered • learners independent & self-motivated • extensive prior knowledge is available • task & goals are defined mutually to address learner needs and interests • learners self-assess

  6. Andragogy: Background • Adult learning principles, known as Andragogy, were coined by Knapp (1833) & formally specified by Knowles (1980). • Andragogy describes learning in terms of: • the behaviors and expectations of adults, • the requirements for effective learning by adults. • Andragogic teaching methods focus on: • intellectual freedom, creativity & experimentation, • adult learners as peers & partners with the teacher, • personal responsibility for learning, • cooperative design of learning programs, • challenging learners to increase their skill in small steps, • active engagement in the learning process, • regular feedback & corresponding adjustment to the process.

  7. Behaviors and Expectations of Adults • Adults want to learn in order to address a perceived need/solve a problem. • Adults prefer to guide & organize their own learning. • Adults immediately want to apply what they learn. • Adults want prompt & useful feedback.

  8. Requirements for Effective Learning by Adults • Safe, non-threatening learning environment • Clear statement of objectives, requirements , expectations • Stimulation of active attention • Opportunity for practice • Relevance of topic or task • Self-management of learning

  9. Requirements for Effective Learning by Adults • Organization of process & activities to support learning • Reinforcement/recognition of accomplishment • Constructive suggestions for improvement • Engagement of prior learning • Topics or tasks are relevant to learner goals • Extension of learning to other areas, topics

  10. Andragogy • “An emerging technology for adult learning” (Knowles, 1970) • Assumes that adults: • move naturally from dependency to self-direction, • draw on prior experience to support new learning, • want to learn when they take on new roles, • are motivated to apply new learning or skills immediately.

  11. How Do I Plan & Evaluate an Effective Learning Session? An effective educator of adults will: • recognize that adults may be used to learning pedagogically -- but want & need to move toward andragogic learning, • generate a safe & cooperative environment, • diagnose learner needs & interests, • engage learners in the planning & evaluation process.

  12. More Steps to an Effective Learning Session • Create relevant objectives consistent with identified needs & interests. • Design a sequence of activities to support accomplishment of the objectives. • Vary the methods, resources, etc. • Request & apply feedback from learners.* • Continually search for methods to improve the process & outcomes.* • Evaluate & adjust the process.* *Iterative steps

  13. Review • The system of learning most characteristic of medical students is: • Andragogy • Pedagogy • A combination of Andragogy & Pedagogy • An effective learning session requires: • A relevant topic with all objectives supplied by the students. • Participation by the learners in the planning process. • Use of a single, focused teaching method.

  14. Review 3. A characteristic of adult learners is: • Adults want to organize their own learning in order to address a perceived need or solve a problem. • Adults will use new information only after receiving enough feedback to be certain they know how to apply their learning. • Adults prefer to be guided in the learning process & to have the instructor create all of the learning objectives. 4. Evaluating a learning session for adults requires: • giving a written or online exam, • requesting & applying learner feedback, • using the same teaching method consistently.

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