Just Like Teaching Pre-School — Adult Learners Are Impatient, Easily Distracted, and Learn By Doing

October 4, 2006

It never hurts to remind people developing any kind of learning content that there are key principles that have been proven over time.  In fact, those of us who have been teaching adults know that there are many parallels between teaching grownups and teaching pre-schoolers.


They don’t like to share, they are easily distracted by shiny objects, and they learn much more easily with their hands on the controls — for example, toilet training.  You can lecture a 2-year-old all day, but put him on the potty seat and you’re headed for success.  Poop happens.

CLO magazine has a great article that expands on this called “Simulations Build on Adult Learning to Accelerate Skill Building and Application” and I’ve posted an excerpt below to make you want to climb up on the rest of the article and do your business.

Simulations Build on Adult Learning to Accelerate Skill Building and Application

October 4, 2006 – Kellye Whitney, Associate Editor

Simulations aren’t a new tool in enterprise learning. As with many of the technologies that have graced the learning stage in the past few years, simulations enjoyed a burst of popularity and attention that subsequently died down. But unlike many of the fly-by-night tech solutions that burst into a short-lived flame, the buzz around simulations still burns and with good reason — simulations are one of the top tools that engage learners and accelerate skill building, as well as the application of new skills and knowledge once employees are back on the job.

“We are seeing an increase in demand for simulations across the board, whether it’s an e-learning simulation, a classroom-based computer simulation or a board simulation,” said Rommin Adl, president and CEO of Strategic Management Group Inc., one of the largest simulation and multimedia training companies in the world. “We’re seeing growth in every single segment that we serve across different practice areas such as business acumen, leadership, project management and sales.”

Adl said part of the reason simulations are still hot is because they align closely with adult learning principles and offer the opportunity to learn by doing in a risk-free environment. Cost, once a huge deterrent to simulation implementation, remains a factor, but it is not as big a worry at the top of the organizational pyramid.

“It links to the strategic nature of learning,” Adl said. “If the learning is linked to some major strategic change initiative, then cost tends to be important, but it’s almost secondary to really creating alignment around the strategic change, whereas, if it’s a curriculum-based or open-enrollment type program, cost is going to be much more of a factor.”   more…


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