Adult Learning Theory

Updated: August 23, 2009

Adult Learning Theory

In order for effective learning to occur, adults typically need to have the requisite knowledge, skills and abilities on which to build, to understand the "value added" of new learning, and to have confidence in their ability to master new information and skills. This is consistent with Vroom's Expectancy Theory. It is essential for the learning and training to be relevant to the adult learner's career. It is important that the learner receive non-judgmental feedback. Negative feedback should be given in a respectful, supportive manner, focusing on how the staff member can improve his or her performance while also giving recognition to positive accomplishments.

Most adult learners have a strong foundation of experience upon which they can connect new knowledge, skills and learning. Experiences can vary significantly among staff members; the teacher should take the background of the individual into account when designing the training. It is ideal for the learning environment to include the sharing of life experiences, strategies, and knowledge. This does not mean that the adult should be trained in isolation. Training should include "how-to-do" information as well as the "when" and "why," so the learner can more successfully apply the material to the necessary job skills. People respond positively when they are actively involved in the training process. Incorporating choice, personal experience, critical thinking, and reflection are important aspects of learning. Staff should be involved in the process from its initial stages, such as needs assessment, to evaluation of the program. Involvement is very helpful in overcoming resistance to change (Blanchard & Thacker, pp 106-109).

Reference List: Blanchard, P.N. and Thacker J.W. (2004). Effective Training Systems, Strategies, and Practices (Second Edition). Upper Saddle River, NJ. Pearson Prentice Hall.

Featured Research
  • 2017 Business Intelligence Trends

    It's long been thought that business intelligence (BI) could only be utilized by highly trained analysts and was therefore unattainable for most businesses. However, advancements in BI have made it so that everyone can utilize BI solutions to help shape business decisions and drive companies bottom lines. more

  • Your Phone System and Your Bottom Line

    Businesses have been using phones to drive increases to their bottom lines for almost a century now. Telephony, much like the rest of the business world, has seen drastic changes with the increase in technological advancement. Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP), has enabled companies to connect with consumers at levels that have been seen as unheard of before. And trust us when we say this, it is doing wonders for the bottom line. more

  • How to Scale a Contact Center in 2017

    Are you on the fence about scaling your contact center and not sure how or whether or not now is the time? Studies have shown that 93% of executives expect that contact volume will remain constant or increase within the next two years. This means that now more than ever is the time to begin scaling and we are here to help. more

  • Making the Case for a New CRM

    Did you know that having an outdated CRM is just as bad as not having one at all? Do you find yourself working even just a little too hard to make your current CRM work to maintain your contacts and relationships? While it is increasingly more difficult to reduce customer churn, modern CRM tools are much more powerful and provide much more opportunity to develop stronger relationships with your clients that can provide more stability and revenue to your company and bottom line. more

  • 2017 Phone Systems Checklist

    As you are well aware, we are living in an age of extreme technological growth. With this, an understatement might be that phone systems have changed a bit over the last decade. If you are in the market for a new phone system, it is absolutely essential for you to have knowledge of this vast sector and just what exactly you need in order to have your business succeed. more