Suitable Training Characteristics for Adults

Suitable Training Characteristics for Adults

Malcolm Knowles, who is regarded as one of the theory originator of adult learning theory in his book “The Adult Learner, A Neglected Species” describes that adults are motivated to invest time and energy in learning something as long as it can help them in performing tasks or face problems that occur in everyday life. Therefore any adult training program should lead to it.

Many initiators of the training program understand this, and generally provide training materials to your employees real needs for success in the workplace. And the participants must understand why they should join the training and how it will have a direct impact on their work. This was conveyed by Kermit Burley in his article at

Kermit Burley, who lives in Bethlehem, Palestine, has been writing for over 30 years. His writings are published in “Training” magazines, and numerous corporate publications throughout his career. Burley completes a master’s in education at Penn State, USA and holds a certificate as instructor and training designer.

Meanwhile Sarah Cordiner writes that the learning process for adults through experience is known as Andragogy. The term was first put forward by a German educator named Alexander Kapp (1833), who was later introduced by Malcolm Knowles, who is considered the most influential author of education to date. Knowles distinguishes between pedagogy, learning for children with andragogy, adult learning.

In his book “The Fundamental Principles of Behind Effective Adult Learning Programs” Sarah Cordiner also stated that he explored how the concept of adult learning was applied in designing and developing experience-based training programs.

Hence the variation in adult learning principles has become increasingly widespread today and is used in schools, colleges, training organizations, universities and businesses that expect people to be lifelong learners. Learning not only while still in school but anytime, without knowing the time and age.


Motivation of Adult Learners

Kermit Burley goes on to say that according to Malcolm Knowles, there are some drivers why adults, in this case are employees, are still willing to attend and attend various trainings organized by training institutions. First is to develop social relationships: acquire new acquaintances, meet with members of industry associations or even associations from different industries and also mingle with friends.

The second is to meet the formal requirements of the party who has the authority. For example, professional associations that require members to get a certificate in recognition of the profession, or known as a professional certification program. Because it is mandatory, would not want someone to follow this learning activity.

Third is related to social welfare (social welfare): how to improve self-ability to serve fellow human beings, prepare themselves to plunge into life in society, and improve themselves to actively participate in activities in the community.

Fourth is for personal progress. By training, one can expect that his position in the company can increase, secure his professional development, and face the progress made by competitors. By equipping yourself more, it is expected he will be able to maintain his position or even increase his career.

But for those who are no longer able to improve their career in the company, participate in training can be just for fun or learn something new. Training for self-development only.

Fifth, to avoid the routine (escape / stimulation). Non-stop working persons will lead to boredom. By joining the training, while improving the ability of participants to avoid routines and perform refreshment, which is different from his daily routines. Training is considered as a recreation, to relax or relax. Not surprisingly, many trainings are now also held in tourism locations.

Sixth, cognitive needs (cognitive interest). People participate in training because he needs to sharpen themselves by adding new knowledge. Can also simply satisfy the desire to know something, maybe the science will be useful later if he had retired, for example.

Then how a training program will be able to answer all the needs of the trainees, who have different motivations. At least there are some things that must be met by the organizer of the training program.


Learning Objectives

An effective training program will answer the question “Why am I joining this program?” The design of each training program should always start with the learning objectives. The training designer needs to create a program with specific goals to be completed by the trainees. These goals should also relate to real skills that will make your employees more successful in their work. Instructors should also mention these goals at the beginning of each training module. You will find that your employees will be more involved and learn more when they fully know that this training is related to their work.



Characteristics of all good training programs is the active involvement of all trainees. Adults want to be part of the training they follow, and a good training program contains lots of exercises in it. Practical sessions at the end of each training module are a great way to involve trainees. Perform role plays, games or problem-solving activities in groups so that participants feel part of the training. Vary the training activities from individuals to small groups and large groups so that each participant has an opportunity to get involved.


Opportunities to Share Experience

Adults will generally bring their experiences into the training program, so often they invite the instructor to discuss each other about the theory and reality in everyday practice. Effective training programs will take advantage of this experience more often and provide many opportunities for everyone to share their experiences. Design your training program so new concepts can be discussed and reviewed. Adults want to add these new skills to what they already have and to increase their knowledge. In order for real learning to take place, trainees need time to reflect on what they have just learned and then discover how to apply it to work.


Make it Fun

Robert Pike, in his book “Creative Training Techniques Handbook,” states that “Learning is directly proportional to the amount of fun you have.” Effective training programs are designed to be as much fun as possible for the trainees. Put jokes into learning, create games and practice opportunities that can make the trainees enjoy what they do. Creative and fun activities can be incorporated into the training program and your employees will remember and will apply the training later on


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