Principles of -- and Myths About -- Adult Learning

© Copyright Carter McNamara, MBA, PhD, Authenticity Consulting, LLC.

Sections of This Topic Include

Some Contemporary Principles of Adult Learning -- Principles Too Often Forgotten
Understand Common Myths About Training and Development
Additional Resources
Library's Blogs About Training and Development

Also see
Related Library Topics

Also See the Library's Blogs Related to Principles of Adult Learning

In addition to the articles on this current page, also see the following blogs that have posts related to Principles of Adult Learning. Scan down the blog's page to see various posts. Also see the section "Recent Blog Posts" in the sidebar of the blog or click on "next" near the bottom of a post in the blog. The blog also links to numerous free related resources.

Library's Career Management Blog
Library's Human Resources Blog
Library's Leadership Blog
Library's Supervision Blog
Library's Training and Development Blog


Some Contemporary Principles of Adult Learning -- Principles Too Often Forgotten

The process of action learning, founded by Reginald Revans about 50 years ago in England, is based on contemporary views of adult learning. Action learning asserts that adults learn best when:

  1. Working to address a current, real-world problem
  2. They are highly vest in solving the current problem
  3. They actually apply new materials and information and
  4. Exchange ongoing feedback around their experiences

These principles are further substantiated by the work of Peter Senge as described in his book Fifth Discipline (Doubleday, 1990). Although the principles seem obvious, think of how very little they are utilized in contemporary, traditional forms of education where people are expected to sit in a classroom and hear from an expert on the subject matter. After those classes, learners rarely see each other, much less to even share ongoing feedback around applying the new learning.

Understand Common Myths About Training and Development

As you read the following list of major problems, think about your own experiences with training and development.

Myth #1: One-shot, "quick-fix" training sessions are usually enough.

How often do we hear of organizations that implement development programs in which participants only have to attend training sessions -- no accountability for implementation and learning required! If people are truly serious about developing skills, they need to put in more practice and effort than that.

Myth #2: Learners almost always apply materials from training sessions.

It's often difficult -- and rare indeed -- for learners to later transfer learning from training sessions (courses, seminars and workshops) over to their lives and work. Training methods rarely incorporate real-life, current challenges in the lives of learners. Therefore, learners are left on their own to later apply new concepts from the many books and binders gained during the training sessions.

Myth #3: People can achieve major goals from taking one-shot training sessions.

Few major challenges in life or work are addressed by some specific procedure conveyed during a training session. Rather, learners get stuck because of strong misperceptions, feelings or structural problems. Getting unstuck requires ongoing support, reflection and testing of new methods on current, real-life challenges. This ongoing support, reflection and testing in real-life are seldom included in traditional training sessions.

Myth #4: Trainers don't need to plan for ongoing support among learners.

Few training programs recognize that learners very often need ongoing support to take the risks necessary to apply new information and materials from training sessions. At the end of a course, seminar or workshop, learners are left on their own.

Myth #5: Learners are not cynical about training and development.

Trainers and practitioners continue to ignore this major issue. To deal with cynicism, people must have a forum in which to vent, to be authentic. Training programs rarely afford that forum.

Myth #6: Training is not really expensive.

The price of education, including training and development, is skyrocketing, while creating a social crisis that leaves many businesses and their employees unable to access traditional means to education, training and development.

Additional Resources

Learning Strategies
Three Learning Factors
About Learning
Online Resources about adult literacy
Continuing Education Requirements: Plan Ahead to Avoid the Last Minute Rush!
How do Adults Learn? The Principles of Training Course Design
Alternative Learning Strategies Teach and Engage Adult Learners
Teaching Adult Learners Part I
Is Lecture Learning?
How We Learn–Six Points You Should Know

Also See the Library's Blogs Related to this Topic

In addition to the articles on this current page, also see the following blogs that have posts related to this topic. Scan down the blog's page to see various posts. Also see the section "Recent Blog Posts" in the sidebar of the blog or click on "next" near the bottom of a post in the blog. The blog also links to numerous free related resources.

Library's Career Management Blog
Library's Human Resources Blog
Library's Leadership Blog
Library's Supervision Blog
Library's Training and Development Blog

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For the Category of Training and Development:

To round out your knowledge of this Library topic, you may want to review some related topics, available from the link below. Each of the related topics includes free, online resources.

Also, scan the Recommended Books listed below. They have been selected for their relevance and highly practical nature.

Related Library Topics

Recommended Books

Basics and General Information

Orienting and Training Employees



Basics and General Information

Leadership and Supervision in Business - Book Cover Field Guide to Leadership and Supervision in Business
by Carter McNamara, published by Authenticity Consulting, LLC. Provides step-by-step, highly practical guidelines to recruit, utilize and evaluate the best employees for your business. Includes guidelines to effectively lead yourself (as Board member or employee), other individuals, groups and organizations. Includes guidelines to avoid burnout -- a very common problem among employees of small businesses. Many materials in this Library's topic about staffing are adapted from this book.
Leadership and Supervision With Nonprofit Staff - Book Cover Field Guide to Leadership and Supervision With Nonprofit Staff
by Carter McNamara, published by Authenticity Consulting, LLC. Provides step-by-step, highly practical guidelines to recruit, utilize and evaluate the best staff members for your nonprofit. Includes guidelines to effectively lead yourself (as Board member or staff member), other individuals, groups and organizations. Includes guidelines to avoid burnout -- a very common problem among nonprofit staff. Many materials in this Library's topic about staffing are adapted from this book.

The following books are recommended because of their highly practical nature and often because they include a wide range of information about this Library topic. To get more information about each book, just click on the image of the book. Also, a "bubble" of information might be displayed. You can click on the title of the book in that bubble to get more information, too.



Orienting and Training Employees

The following books are recommended because of their highly practical nature and often because they include a wide range of information about this Library topic. To get more information about each book, just click on the image of the book. Also, a "bubble" of information might be displayed. You can click on the title of the book in that bubble to get more information, too.



Also See

Career Development -- Recommended Books

Coaching -- Recommended Books

Human Resources -- Recommended Books

Career Development -- Recommended Books

Interpersonal Skills -- Recommended Books

Personal Development -- Recommended Books

Personal Productivity -- Recommended Books

Time and Stress Management -- Recommended Books




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