Training Adults in the Workplace

“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” —American writer William Arthur Ward

In addition to inspiring students, a great teacher understands the difference between teaching children and adults. In fact, Malcolm Knowles, a leader in the field of adult education, was well known for the use of the term andragogy, meaning the art and science of adult learning.

Knowles developed four principles for adult learning that can be applied to the work setting: readiness, experience, autonomy and action.

Understanding these principles is a very important way for instructors to find success in the classroom. After all, if you do not focus on the unique needs and characteristics of adult students, training will be a waste of time for instructors, students and organizations. Let’s take a closer look at each principle:

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