How to Motivate Adult Learners

balibisa Bali Bisa

Businesses delivering training, no matter who they are, seem to have one common problem – motivating adults to learn isn’t easy. Below are methods we use when teaching our adult learners both in the classroom setting and our online courses.

Create useful and relevant learning experiences based on the age group and interests of your learners

Emphasize on the practical knowledge is one of the keys to motivate adult learners. It is important to design a course that provides immediate relevancy. Learning materials that can be put into practice. Adult learners appreciate more practical knowledge, rather than unimportant facts and theories.

Facilitate exploration

Even though children are famous for their exploratory nature and curiosity, adult learners, too, sometimes like to take the opportunity to construct knowledge in a way that is meaningful to them. For this reason, you should have all sorts of materials, references, infographics, short videos, lectures, podcasts and free resources available.  In such a perfect learning environment learners are more likely to get inspired or find something that makes them want to learn more.

Build community and integrate social media

Keep in mind that social media websites are a powerful tool for collaboration, commenting and sharing. You can facilitate group discussions and communities. People will quickly start exchanging knowledge, and will also have fun, social media is fun!

A voice behind the video is not enough

Add a personal touch. Your course needs to have a face. Make yourself available to people, invite subject-matter experts, authors, professors and other specialists in live online discussions and question and answer sessions.

Challenge through games

Come up with different problem solving exercises and case studies. Make your learners look for and find solutions.

Use humor

Humor would work great even with the most demotivated learners on your course. When your students know you are funny, they will listen to your material carefully, cause they wouldn’t want to miss on your witty sense of humor. You can never lose with that.

Chunk information

Chunking is essential, as it helps people remember and assimilate information. Small bits are easier to process.

Add suspense

Don’t give out everything your course is about in the beginning. Yes, you need an overview, but keep some interesting points until the time is right. No one likes to read a book if they know what’s about to happen.

Accommodate individual interests and career goals

Empower learners to work on these goals and individualize the training to suit their needs.

Stimulate your learners

Encourage them to think by either providing them with brain teasers, or by asking thought-provoking questions.

Let learning occur through mistakes

According to a German proverb “you will become clever through your mistakes“. Have you heard the famous expression: “Practice makes perfect“? Of course you have! Henry Roediger who started a learning experiment divided his students in two groups. Group A studied natural sciences paper for 4 sessions, while group B studied the same paper for one session and was tested on it three times. According to the experimenter, one week later, students from group B performed 50% better than Group A, even though they studied the paper less. The results clearly support the argument that “practice makes perfect“.

Make it visually-compelling

Did you know that 83% of learning occurs visually?

Get Emotional

If you don’t sound inspiring, if your materials are not exciting, how will you motivate your learners? Get them emotionally involved too – come up with controversial statements, tap on memories, add real-life stories.

Get examples of their workplace

Your learners may not always remember to associate what is learned with its application at the workplace. Sometimes they might need reminders and a clue to help them make that connection.

Ask for feedback

It is motivating to know that your opinion contributes to the course.

Present the benefits of undertaking the course

I don’t know why I didn’t start with this one. Sometimes outlining the benefits is all it takes.

Do you have other you add to “How to motivate adult learners”?

Penny Ellis
Bali International Spa Academy