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Understanding the circumstances under which adults learn best is critical to hitting the overall mission of workplace training. Knowles identified that adult learning differs from children where content-centered and teacher-led techniques yield best results (Knowles, Holton, & Swanson, 2014). Knowles identified that adults are internally motivated to acquire knowledge by making connections to their perceived relevance (Scruton, Ferguson, & Wallace, 2014). Adults find relevancy in learning that improves their workplace realities through task-oriented exercises and enhanced problem-solving abilities (Knowles, Holton, & Swanson, 2012). As mature human beings, adults apply their experiences, accumulated knowledge and desire to learn to shape their learning. Unlike the memorization prioritized in the content-centered approach in children, adults seek direct involvement in creating discovery channels for improved value (Norris, Davis, & Veronika, 2017). Doing so mandates the formulation of cyclical experiential activities that nurture task-oriented and problem-centered learning.
The creation of immediacy value in adult learning occurs by advancing the learning experiences beyond the chalk-and-talk routines. The accomplishment of the problem-centered learning in adults requires encouraging their active participation through simulations (Knowles, Holton, & Swanson, 2014). The exposure to demos would stimulate kinesthetic learning by making a natural part of their course. Initiating simulations that evoke realistic scenarios aligned to cause-effect relationships generate powerful experiences the learners would hardly forget (O'Connor, 2015). The inclusion of scenario-driven activities would enable the adults to develop relevant insights through reflective observation. The adoption of problem-centered approach enables the learners to identify challenges and then apply their theoretical knowledge to develop solutions addressing the situation (Fitzgerald, Laurian-Fitzgerald, & Popa, 2018). Problem-centered orientation nurtures the learners' ability to think holistically whey they encounter actual challenges (Weimer, 2013). The demonstrations should comprise process analysis, case studies, and procedures adopted to allow learners to interact actively with the task performance. Their inclusion stimulates active engagement with tactics that improve performance.
The success of conducting task-oriented learning depends on the learner's ability to decode the abstract concepts relevantly to the realities confronting them. The accomplishment of such capability mandates exposure to abstract conceptualization during learning (Kolb, 2014). The trainer should encourage learners to reflect on ideas through critical thinking and applying them to address realities confronting them (Johnson, 2015). However, accomplishing such experiential learning capabilities compels designing assessments that prompt learners to exercise critical thinking abilities. Adults being task-oriented learning refrain from passive listening. Instead, they seek activities that trigger their mental action (Merriam, 2011). The satisfaction of such requirement deserves applying mini-exercises blend with thought experiments. The inclusion of quick thought experiments would elicit mental engagements including reflection, observation, and comparison (Johnson & Taylor, 2011; McGill & King, 2014). The activities are invaluable to generate active sharing and dialoguing. Additionally, gaming the learning point with simulated exercises would challenge the adult learners' brains with a readiness to pounce on the new knowledge (Edwards, Hanson, & Raggatt, 2013). The adoption of thought experiments fosters the engagement levels to create I-can-figure-this-out attitude.
Creation of active experimentation delivers transformative experiences allowing learners trigger radical changes in their thoughts, attitudes and behavioral patterns. The inclusion of experiential learning evokes a cyclical pursuit of hands-on skills and experiences (O'Tool, Stinson, & Moore, 2009). It becomes possible to sustain the task-orientation through experimentation offers via role-playing, benchmarking and internships. The exposure of adult learners to concrete experiences that trainers continuously test their relevance to the prevailing conditions (Wang, 2013). Besides, it requires the trainers to align the learning process with events occurring within the educational, professional and personal settings. However, the active experimentation should align with the concrete experiences to expose the adult learners to changing circumstances that nurture on-the-job performance improvement (Jarvis, 2012; Tight, 2012). Beyond correction, it presents the opportunity for the trainer to orient the actively engaged learner to alternative approaches that would meet the desired goals and complete the task in future.
Edwards, R., Hanson, ., & Raggatt, . (2013). Boundaries of Adult Learning. New York: Routledge.
Fitzgerald, C. J., Laurian-Fitzgerald, S., & Popa, C. (2018). Handbook of Research on Student-Centered Strategies in Online Adult Learning Environments. Hershey, PA: Information Science Reference.
Johnson, S. M. (2015). Adult Learning in the Language Classroom. Zulu: Channel View Publications.
Johnson, S., & Taylor, K. (2011). The Neuroscience of Adult Learning: New Directions for Adult and ContinuinThe Neuroscience of Adult Learning: New Directions for Adult and Continuing. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons.
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O'Tool, J., Stinson, M., & Moore, T. (2009). Drama and Curriculum: A Giant at the Door (Vol. 6). Dordrecht: Springer.
Scruton, J., Ferguson, ., & Wallace, . (2014). Teaching and Supporting Adult Learners. Northwich: Critical Publishing.
Tight, M. (2012). Key Concepts in Adult Education and Training (2 ed.). New York: Routledge.
Wang, V. C. (2013). Advanced Research in Adult Learning and Professional Development: Tools . Hershey, Pennsylvania: IGI Global.
Weimer, M. (2013). Learner-Centered Teaching: Five Key Changes to Practice (2 ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
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