Developing Learning Strategies for Adult Learners
Developing learning strategies for adult education is not a complex task. The first step to designing a great course plan is a needs assessment. Before drafting out a plan, you should complete this assessment, have a foreknowledge of the needs of your students and define the objectives of that course.
Here are some simple steps to help you design adult learning strategies. Follow them to see how effective you can be.
Reception and Acknowledgement
Make out 30 – 60 minutes during your first class to carry out introductions and to communicate your learning objectives and strategy. This is what your opening class should look like:
1.Receive each participant as they come.
2.Kick start the introduction session and keep the ball rolling among participants. Let them tell their names and expectations from the class. You can then drop an ice breaker to help them loosen up and get comfortable.
3.Attempt making the classroom introduction fun on the first school day
4.Write out each of their expectations on a whiteboard or flip chart.
5.State the course objectives and analyze their expectations, giving genuine reasons why each of them would or would not be met.
6.Go over the strategy
7. Go over the housekeeping items – location of the restrooms, the scheduled time for a break, the fact that people are accountable for their actions and should not hesitate to use the restroom when they need to. After all, it is an adult class.
Let your lesson material be segmented into 50 minutes modules. Each of them should comprise of a warmup, short presentation or lecture, an activity and a conclusion, with a break afterward. Clearly state the time each of these sections should take at the top of every page in your guide book, as well as in the corresponding pages of the participants’ workbooks.
These are brief activities that span 5 minutes or less which help to get the minds of the participants actively engaged on the topic to be covered. The activities here can come in the form of a game, or an intriguing question that is centered on the course you are about to introduce. Self-assessments and ice breakers are good examples of warm-ups. For instance, you could use a learning style assessment as a warm-up when teaching about learning styles.
Create short lectures that should not exceed 20 minutes. Give wholesome information, but bear in mind that your audience is made of adults, and their respective capacity generally does not exceed 20 minutes. They can stay attentive and understand for as long as 90 minutes, but will only remember for about 20 minutes.
When preparing a workbook for students or participants, insert the primary learning points and slides for that lesson in it. Note-taking is a meaningful part of the lecture; however, it will cost you their attention if they have to aggressively take down everything.
Organize an activity that offers the students the opportunity to exercise what they had just been taught. Activities that require dividing the class into smaller groups where members can work together to perform a task or talk about a subject are excellent ways of engaging and educating adults. During these moments, you can encourage them to make the class more realistic by sharing experiences and insights on the subject. Create opportunities for these types of information to be shared and for the students to learn from them.
Activities can be in the form of individual evaluations or reviews that are carried out privately, without assistance. They can also be in the form of games, acting, or group discussions. Whatever form your activity takes, it should be based on the knowledge you have about your students and the scope of your class. Introducing a hands-on exercise when teaching about a hands-on skill is a wonderful choice. Likewise, a quiet writing activity can fit in nicely when teaching about writing skills.
At the end of an activity, you must gather the group together for a general discussion about lessons learned by the students during the activity. Get people to describe their reactions and to ask questions. It’s the best opportunity to make sure the material was thoroughly absorbed. This session should last for about 5 minutes but can be longer if you realize the lesson was not fully absorbed.
Go on a 10-minute break
This will cost you a chunk of time; however, you won’t regret it because your students will become a lot more attentive during classes. It will also help to minimize the number of people distracting the class by excusing themselves.
Tip: Make the most of Class Times
Breaks are entirely vital, yet you must properly manage them. Start the class at a specific time irrespective of the loiterers; otherwise, time will be lost on chitchats. If you do this, students will immediately adjust to your proper sense of timing, and you will have won your respect from them.
Bring your lessons to a close with brief evaluations to know if the learning was of any significance to the students. The evaluation must strictly be kept brief. If it is too long, students may simply rush over it. Raise a few vital questions:
1.Did you get all you expected from this course?
2.Was there something you hoped to learn about that wasn’t taught?
3.What would you consider to be the most valuable thing you learned?
4.Can you recommend that a friend should take this class?
5.Please comment on any aspect of the day.
This is an illustration. Select questions that pertain to your topic. The answers you are aiming to collect are meant to help you improve your class.