Preparing for Instruction 1 – Characteristics of Adult Learners

Adult learners have individual approaches to learning.

In Learning-Style Characteristics of Adult Learners, Honigsfeld and Dunn (2006) discuss the different ways that adults learn and the different environments that help or hinder them in their learning.

They identify five different stimuli that help determine an adult’s learning style. These are environmental, emotional, sociological, physiological and psychological stimuli (Honigsfeld & Dunn). They further go on to state that, “no two adult learners approach the same task with identical strategies” (p.16).

This is very important to take into consideration when preparing learning activities for adults. If the individual needs and learning styles are not taken into consideration, the adult learners may become bored, frustrated or overwhelmed with the learning task at hand (Honigsfeld & Dunn).

When I am designing learning activities for my students next month, I would like to try one of the approaches outlined in the above article by Honigsfeld and Dunn. This would be to use a survey and experiment to see what type of learning style the students have. They mentioned a specific survey called the Building Excellence Survey (p. 16), which I would consider using to help determine my students’ learning styles, although it is not a free resource. Then when doing activities I could group the students according to their styles, such as grouping together students who like auditory stimuli in an area where they can listen to music in the background, and grouping other students who learn best by discussing and talking about their learning into another group and so forth.

Because my class room will include both theoretical information and participatory lab activities I think I will have a good opportunity to really try this out and evaluate if it is effective or not for the students.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Building Excellence Survey, you can follow this link to read about it in detail!



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