This past week I spent an amazing morning with a group of women who meet regularly to share ideas on how we can be better at our work as trainers working with adults.
One of our group members did a presentation for us on Adult Learning. So, here’s the fascinating part of some of the research she did for us. When you search online for ‘adult learning styles’, you come up with many models. Here are a few:
- Adventurous Learner/Social Learner/Practical Learner/Conceptual Learner
- Accomodative Learning Style/Diverging Learning Style/Convergent Learning Style/Assimilating Learning Style
- Abstract Perceivers/Concrete Perceivers/Reflective Processors/Active Processors
All I have to say is, now I’m more confused than ever! No wonder teaching adults is perceived as such a challenge. Although we all thought that these models apply to children just as much as adults, perhaps we just don’t have time in the classroom to recognize and teach to all of these styles?
Anyway, now that I’m no more clear than I was before, one thing I am more clear on is the importance of having time to reflect in a training session or workshop. I am actually practicing reflection as I write this blog. In an attempt to assimilate what I learned and how I can put it into practice I am writing and talking about what I learned. However, not all of us are able to reflect about new information in this way. Some of us need to ‘feel’ or ‘see’ what we have learned.
During a training session we might benefit from closing our eyes and imagining a picture of what we are learning. Some of us more creative types might like to act out what we have learned or sing about it.
As a trainer, the important part of any session is to give participants time to reflect on the information. I was told at one time that we should stop every 20 mins. and have a quick reflection before moving forward. The challenge with this is that if you have a limited amount of time and are trying to cover enough subject matter to actually teach something constructive you don’t always have the luxury of doing so.
One thing I have started to do differently over the years is to include much less content in my workshops and give everyone in the session a little time to discuss and digest what we are covering as well as trying to always be aware that we all learn differently and need to be given the chance to do so in our own way. So, the next time I see someone doodling in a workshop, I will know that they are using that as a technique to reflect on what they are learning.