Adult Learning highlights that adult learners are fundamentally different in their methods of learning in comparison with children. As an L&D professional, you need to understand these differences and figure out the best ways to apply them to meet your learner's needs. With adult learners, you will encounter unique expectations, demands, and challenges. The key is to accommodate to these and design training and eLearning courses in a manner that is most effective and engaging for them. While there are multiple methodologies to make this happen, there is a model proposed by Lila Davachi, Associate Professor of Psychology at New York University that is known to be effective. Known as AGES (Attention-Generation-Emotion-Spacing), this model highlights four key elements that are essential for effective adult learning to happen.
As eLearning designers, we have to understand adult learning psychology to create courses that appeal to them and make them want to learn what you want to teach. But... there is a challenge. Most adult learners are anxious about being able to adapt to, and perform in a virtual learning environment. They also harbor negative attitudes about eLearning (due to bad courses they’ve taken in the past). We have to overcome these obstacles by giving the learner compelling reasons to take our courses. We have to get inside their minds and break the code: What motivates them to learn and what holds them back?
As an instructional designer, you want to create courses that make a difference to your audience’s lives. You want to create experiences that inspire them, that change mindsets and drive performance. In short, you want to create courses that resonate with them and hit the mark, every time.
Most of adult learning strategies are based on the idea that adults learn differently from non-adults. The term that often comes up is “androgogy,” which Malcolm Knowles coined to describe how adults learn in contrast to “pedagogy” or on how children learn.