Adults are characterized by maturity, self-confidence, autonomy, solid decision-making, and are generally more practical, multi-tasking, purposeful, self-directed, experienced, and less open-minded and receptive to change. All these adult learners traits affect their motivation, as well as their ability to learn.
Adult learners respond best to eLearning when course designers keep their specific learning needs in mind. Great eLearning for adults needs to take cues from pioneers in adult learning, such as Malcolm Knowles, who recognizes that adults learn in specific and different ways than traditional college students and other learners. Understanding the principles of adult learning leads to more successful eLearning courses.
The Understanding Adult Online Learners Infographic serves as a quick guide to understanding adult online learners focusing on 4 main points:
- Adults bring experience to training. Allow them to use it.
- Allow adult learners to make their own meaning.
- Adult learners want to have fun.
- Learning occurs when behavior changes.