Creating and delivering training materials for adult learners is rewarding in many ways. Generally speaking, mature learners are interested in the subject matter being covered (it is their career, after all), and they bring with them a wealth of experience. They also tend to be articulate, focused, and disciplined. All of these things can serve as a springboard into an effective learning experience.
In a group setting, however, adult learners present a couple of challenges. To begin, classes for corporate training and industrial training can be incredibly diverse with respect to age, skill level, and academic background. Curriculum developers and trainers alike are required to spend extra time determining where each individual is in his or her learning, and they need to deliver multi-level instruction that varies greatly from group to group and from session to session.
An even bigger challenge is presented by the inevitable variety of learning styles within a group of corporate or industrial learners. This isn’t, by any means, different than it would be with any group of learners. However, mature learners, having been out of a formal learning environment for a number of years, may not know how learning environments have changed to accommodate diversity in learning styles. They may also have forgotten what their individual learning style is. It’s possible they were never encouraged to explore, identity and work with their own particular strengths as a student.
Fortunately, there are a number of ways in which new educational technology can help with both of these challenges. A well-designed learning platform can provide:
- Authoring capabilities that allow trainers and instructors to customize materials and delivery for each group or session.
- Analytics that show an trainer who is struggling with material and who is moving ahead, in real time.
- Just-in-time help for learners who need it, both in real time and as pre-recorded audio-visual materials.
- Pop-up quizzes and other check-ins to ensure that learners are getting what they need before they have to complete bigger assessment and evaluation pieces.
- Opportunities for learners to communicate and collaborate, so that they can learn from, and help one another.
- A hands-on learning environment that includes a variety of materials, for a variety of learning styles to be used for employee training
- A cloud-based system that allows learners to revisit previous lessons, even after their training has been completed.
- Mobile capabilities, so that a diverse group of learners can use devices with which they’re comfortable, and which they can take with them when they finish a lesson.
The right learning system can effectively welcome an industrial or corporate learner back to the classroom, ensuring that trainers have the tools they need to support them and that employee retention is achieved
Amy Leask is VP of Enable Education.