Would you like to know more about how your adult students learn and interact with the learning environment, whether they are on-ground or online? A theory that addresses how adults learn is collectively called learning styles. Every adult has a unique approach or preferred method of learning, which can include one particular learning style or a combination of more than one. Learning styles, or descriptions of the way that adults learn, provide an explanation of how they interact with their classroom environment and process information. This offers another perspective of the process of learning, which will help you gain a better understanding of your students and is likely to increase your effectiveness as an instructor and in the process, teaching will become more effective. When instructors gain insight into the different ways that adult students interact with their environment they can adapt their instructional strategies to engage students in the process of learning through a variety of techniques and activities.
Teaching adults can be rewarding for any educator. Adult students, especially those who are taking online classes, have a specific reason for the classes they choose – even if a class only meets an elective requirement. For online instructors, they know the process of managing a class involves being assigned a predetermined curriculum where all learning activities have been established. What can enhance the work of an educator is to know more than the facilitation requirements for teaching a course – they also need to know how to teach adults and understand how adults learn. As to the question regarding how adults learn, the answer lies within a learning theory known as andragogy. This is translated to mean the art of teaching adults. By learning more about this theory it can help to inform your work as an educator and allow you to better address the developmental needs of your students who want to become self-directed learners.
The process of adult learning in any classroom environment involves the acquisition of information, interaction with that information through assigned activities, and the creation of new knowledge. One of the primary purposes of adult education programs is to establish classroom conditions that are necessary for learning to take place. Throughout the process of learning knowledge creation is likely to occur as a product of this environment.