Adults learn through two key methods: acquiring knowledge and applying knowledge in the real world. The repetition and interplay between these two adult learning styles is another critical factor to learning.
There is also a well-known theory that says adults need to spend time talking about what they’ve learned, in addition to doing the learning and then using the learning. This is what we might call the socialization of learning (literally, socializing about what you’ve learned with other people).
The last important adult learning style relates to memory. As humans, our memory is fallible. We know that we will forget what we learn unless we make commitments to retrieve and recall what we’ve learned. Doing so overcomes the chance that we forget, solidifying knowledge for our retrieval and use well into the future.
Together, the implications of these adult learning styles for the way we go about procuring and/or designing learning experiences are important. Learning must be relevant, blended and ongoing—“one & done” only results in a faint memory of a subject and little proof of ROI.
Here are three simple adult learning style concepts to keep in mind:
- Relevance: Adults have little time to waste while at work, so relevance must be top of mind. Conducting a thorough needs analysis is critical to ensuring that what you teach is relevant and therefore resonates with the audience, incentivizing them to pay attention and engage with the material and their colleagues who may also be in need of learning the same things.
- Blended: Adults today expect to learn at their own pace, in addition to scheduled interventions that are facilitated by a specific person, in a specific place and at a specific time. Digital learning solutions or blended learning solutions abound, so the challenge becomes curating or identifying the best tools and resources for your needs. Of course, pay careful attention to the places online where learning should be and the promotional campaigns that draw attention to what’s available.
- Ongoing: Timing is always of the essence, which is why ongoing or mid- to longer-term adult learning solutions provide the greatest ROI. The reason is they reduce the chance that learners will forget while giving ample time and space for learners to not only recall and retrieve what they’ve learned, but practice what they’ve learned in meaningful ways.
At CultureWizard, we’ve blended all these theories and concepts into our diverse array of learning formats, technologies and subjects to empower adults of all learning styles. Our PowerLearn format schedules and facilitates multiple virtual sessions for 30- to 60-minute periods that provide interaction with the facilitator and other participants, making it both time- and cost-effective. The PowerLearn format is also blended with pre- and post-work on our digital learning platform. And, with a strong baseline needs analysis, this format has proven to be successful across geographies, making adult learning globally consistent and locally relevant.
Contact us today to explore how to optimize adult learning experiences to develop more inclusive, globally minded professionals, among other topics that form the core of our practice.