Lesson Planning Components

Characteristics of Adult Learners

As stated by Pappas (2013) in his article “8 Important Characteristics of Adult Learners”, “adults are characterized by maturity, self-confidence, autonomy, solid decision-making, and are generally more practical, multi-tasking, purposeful, self-directed, experienced, and less open-minded and receptive to change.”   Pappas explores eight adult learner traits that educators need to be cognizant of when creating lesson plans and delivering course content.  These adult learner traits include self-direction, practical and results-oriented, less open-minded, slower learning yet more integrative knowledge, use personal experience as a resource, motivation, multi-level responsibilities, and high expectations.

One strategy Pappas (2013) suggests, which I intend to use in the future, in order to educate adult learners is providing self-assessments.  In two of the health administration courses I am currently developing I plan to use self-assessment questionnaires to assist me with determining students participation grades.  The self-assessment guides will give me a sense of how each of the students view their own participation in class activities and overall in the course itself.  By requiring the students to complete a self-assessment I am encouraging them to critically reflect on their learning experience and hopefully gain insight into any areas they can improve upon in future learning opportunities.

Another strategy suggested by Pappas, in which I plan to implement in the future, is providing students with personal questionnaires in order to get to know them better.  This will allow me to use the adult learners past experiences and personal interests in order to tailor course content and use examples that the students are able to relate to.  This strategy will also assist me in creating a positive working relationship with the students.  By getting to know my students more I am able to better my practice by tailoring the course content to the current students so that they have more effective learning experiences.

Lastly, the final reason I chose this resource is that it provides a concise video clip that does a profound job of explaining the characteristics of adult learners and how to tailor educational efforts to meet those specific needs.

For more information, or to read the full article, please refer to the link for Christopher Pappas article “8 Important Characteristics of Adult Learners” in my resource section.


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