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Adult learning principles

As adults, learners have different needs, and unlike children, need to be able to direct their learning process themselves. To do this we must find ways of designing and structuring the learning process.

Learning materials for adults should aim to accommodate the following:
<-apply problem-solving ability rather than content need
<-involve the learner in an active way: being interactive
<-ensure that the learning environment is suitably organised and arranged
<-base new learning activities on an analysis of the learner€™s needs, in agreement with the learner

<-ensure that assessment of learning outcomes is understood by the learner

<-a resource, to manage and guide the learning situation, not just to deliver the course content.

However, culture has a bearing on this principle. While Western style cultures generally advocate a position where students are encouraged to be self reliant and to discover related information for themselves, and the learning is therefore more €œstudent centred€, in some cultures, this is not the tradition.

Some cultures are based on a strong level of respect and submission to authority, and as a teacher is seen as an authority figure, students tend to be more passive and expect the teacher to be the expert. They are more comfortable with a teacher centred approach to learning and wait for the teacher to direct them in their learning experiences. This variation must therefore have a strong influence on how a teacher relates to a class, and whether the emphasis of the role is as a €œcontent specialist€ or that of a facilitator of learning.