Principles of Adult Learning: How Trainers Must Handle Adult Learners – Train the Trainer Training Course in Dallas

Knowing exactly what adult trainees bring to a class is important in providing the right support to them.

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Adults learn differently from children in many ways. They bring their past experiences, judgment and particular learning style to a training class. To train adults, trainers need to accommodate these factors and use them to assist learning.

1. Willingness/Eagerness to Learn

Adults must be motivated to learn. They may either self-motivate or have another person motivate them to learn. The willingness to learn allows an adult to be more attentive and absorb the new information readily. Reluctance to learn or boredom, on the other hand, acts as a shield that does not allow the trainee to retain information for long even if they are attentive.

A trainer can build eagerness to learn during a training session by connecting the learning with the benefits it will provide to the learners. If there is a gain to be had from the learning, the learners will be more willing to make the effort to learn.

2. Goal-Oriented

Unlike children, adults are goal-oriented. They consider the advantages and the disadvantages of investing their time, effort and/or money on something. Adult relationships with people and objects is based on how much value they are getting in return of what they are providing. A training session is no exception. An adult will judge a training session based on what it provides them. It can be an added skill, knowledge that can be used for personal or professional gain, or certification that improves their professional profile. The results need to match or exceed the effort.

A trainer must inform the participants of the various benefits that they can receive from the learning at the start of the training session. It will make them link their efforts during the training with the results that they can expect to receive from it.

3. Guidance, Not Forcing

Adults are self-directed and like to think themselves self-sufficient. Forcing automatically puts them in the defensive or attacking mode. Adults like a trainer or a teacher to share knowledge with them. They prefer a learning facility where there is no authoritative figure that they must follow.

For a trainer to be liked, effort must be made to bring equality where the trainer is sharing the knowledge, experience and skills with others on equal terms. When a trainer practices and promotes freedom and equality, adult learners are expected to be more receptive, respectful and compliant.


Every adult is competitive in his or her own way. We like to be better than others, or at least seem better than them. Trainers may observe competitiveness in the training room as well. The competitiveness of some of the participants will be more apparent than others, but it is present in some manner in majority of adults.

A trainer needs to use this natural competitiveness in helping the trainees learn better and use their training more effectively. Games, group activities, and one-on-one interactions can help learners to become team players, using their competitiveness for the benefit of themselves and others.

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Pdtraining delivers 1000’s of professional development courses each year in Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Manhattan, Miami, Orlando, Philadelphia, and Seattle, so you can be assured your training will be delivered by a qualified and experienced trainer.

All public Train the Trainer Training courses include am/pm tea, lunch, printed courseware and a certificate of completion. Customized courses are available upon request, so please contact pdtraining on 855 334 6700 to learn more.


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