SIDS Program Manual Trainer's Guide SIDS & Infant Death Program Manual and Trainer's Guide

Appendix A

Principles of Adult Learning Chart

Adults learn best when... The role of the trainer is to...

They feel valued and respected for the experiences and perspectives they bring to the training.

Therefore, they wish to speak, participate and contribute to the training. They dislike long lectures and one-way communication.

Create activities that use participants' experience and knowledge. Don't ignore what they know. It is a resource for you.

Provide low-risk activities in small-group settings.

Validate and affirm their knowledge, contributions and successes.

Provide for the possibility of a need to unlearn old habits.

Avoid jargon and talking down to participants.

Share personal experiences when asked and when appropriate.

Provide a quality, well-organized experience that uses time effectively.

Listen before, during and after the event.

Ask for feedback on training and provide input opportunities.

The learning experience is active and not passive.

Adults are accustomed to being active. They should be given an opportunity for active participation whenever possible.

Actively engage participants in their learning experience.

Encourage participation by all participants.

Allow sufficient time for all activities.

Ask open-ended questions to encourage discussion.

Use participants' names to encourage connection to the class.

The learning experience actually fills their immediate needs.

Adults learn with relevance. The learning must connect clearly and directly with tasks faced by the learner on the job or in life.

Identify participants' needs and tie training concepts into these identified needs.

Follow up on answers to questions you don't know.

Provide background and supporting evidence for course content.

Modify the teaching plan to accommodate learner experiences.

They accept responsibility for their own learning.

Adults prefer learning situations that allow choice and self-direction.

Make sure that training content and skills are directly relevant to participants' experiences so that they will want to learn.

Build training plans around their needs and compare goals and actual needs.

Share the agenda and assumptions and ask for input on them.

Ask what participants know about the topic.

Ask what participants would like to know about the topic.

Build flexibility into your plans so they can easily be shifted if necessary.

Suggest follow-up ideas and next steps for after the session.

Their learning is self-directed and meaningful to them.

Adults prefer learning situations that are practical and problem centered.

Involve participants in deciding on the content and skills that will be covered during the training.

Give overviews, summaries and examples and use stories.

Plan for direct application of the new information.

Include collaborative, problem-solving activities.

Anticipate problems applying the new ideas and offer suggested uses.

Guard against becoming too theoretical.

Their learning experience addresses ideas, feelings and actions.

Therefore, the material and the method of presentation must catch their interest, touch their feelings and stir creative and independent thought.

Use multiple training methods that address knowledge, attitudes and skills.

Promptly address participants' concerns, conflicts or difficulties.

Use a variety of educational methods such as discussion, role- play or videos.

Use colorful slides or overheads.

Use colorful newsprints and markers.

New material is related to what participants already know.

Adults want courses that focus on real-life problems and tasks rather than academic material. A strong how-to focus is desired. They become restless if they believe their time is being wasted.

Find ways to assess participant knowledge before an event.

Help them recall what they already know that relates to the new ideas.

Help them see how the new information is relevant to them.

Modify the teaching plan to accommodate participant experiences.

Process role-plays in a manner that reflects real life.

Use real-life problems and examples.

Ask participants to relate their own stories.

Minimize the use of statistics.

The learning environment is conducive to learning. Adults learn best in comfortable settings.

Therefore, physical discomfort will distract or create negative feelings.

Provide for their needs through breaks, snacks, coffee and comfort.

Allow frequent breaks during instructional time.

Encourage participants to dress comfortably/casually.

Orient yourself and participants to the facility, especially the locations of telephones and restrooms.

Create a classroom set-up that is conducive to participant interaction and learning.

Learning is reinforced.

Adults want positive reinforcement of desired behavior and feedback about errors at the moment they occur.

Use training methods that allow participants to practice new skills and ensure prompt, reinforcing feedback.

Handle unexpected situations or disrespect with minimal confusion or emotion.

Process after each exercise, activity or role-play.

Give praise and encouragement.

Provides specific behavioral observations about errors.

Learning is applied immediately. Provide opportunities during the training for participants to apply the new information and skills they have learned.
Learning occurs in small groups. Use training methods that encourage participants to explore feelings, attitudes, and skills with other participants.
The trainer values their contributions as both a participant and a teacher. Adults learn when mistakes are honored as well as successes. People learn from mistakes.

Encourage participants to share their expertise and experiences with others.

Process by asking what was most dificult or challenging about the exercise/assignment.

Ask participants what they liked or thought they did well in the exercise/assignment.

Encourage participants to take risks and try new things.