Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Adult education concepts

I had the great pleasure of attending a workshop on how to integrate adult learning principles into classroom training sessions.  It was put on by the organizers of for whom I do two different seminars.  One on buying existing businesses and one on preparing for or choosing a business succession route.

What struck me was that many of the principles which allow adults to learn better:

  • accountability and responsibility
  • ability to share
  • understanding of real-world circumstances and examples
  • acknowledgement that the instructor was an expert

... probably would have allowed me to learn better as a teenager as well.

The principles get adopted in the training room with such tactics as allowing participants to share their experience on the topics, breaking up into groups so that people can share more readily with each other, giving participants a chance to stand up and move around every half-hour or so, listening to real life examples via stories and testing knowledge through demonstration, rather than taking tests.

So what makes 'adult learning' so different from 'teenage learning?'

Adults can stand up and walk out if they don't like it and choose to not pay for more courses.  That's it.

It's fascinating that in the free market world of adult education, teachers are always trying to do a better job to please the customer.  In this case the individuals or companies who pay for training in an effort to get better skills or achieve goals and desired outcomes.

In public education, it doesn't matter what the teachers do.  The tax dollars keep flowing because there is no choice in the matter.

Maybe its time people realized that if monopolies are bad in business, maybe they're also bad in education.

Just my thoughts.

P.S. A very heartfelt apology goes out to people who have to pay taxes for schools they don't use because I decided to have children.

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