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The Five Principles of Adult Learning Pioneered by Malcolm Knowles

Posted on 07/11/2017

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In her article on Thought.Co Deb Peterson explains that the teacher of adults has a different job from the one who teaches children. If you're teaching adult students, for the best results it's important to understand and practice five principles espoused by Malcolm Knowles, a pioneer in the study of adult learning External link opens in new window or tab. He observed that adults learn best when:

  1. They understand why something is important to know or do.
  2. They have the freedom to learn in their own way.
  3. Learning is experiential.
  4. The time is right for them to learn.
  5. The process is positive and encouraging.

Deb Peterson further develops the principles and gives examples:

  • PRINCIPLE 1: MAKE SURE YOUR ADULT STUDENTS UNDERSTAND “WHY”
  • PRINCIPLE 2: RESPECT THAT YOUR STUDENTS HAVE DIFFERENT LEARNING STYLES
  • PRINCIPLE 3: ALLOW YOUR STUDENTS TO EXPERIENCE WHAT THEY’RE LEARNING
  • PRINCIPLE 4: WHEN THE STUDENT IS READY, THE TEACHER APPEARS
  • PRINCIPLE 5: ENCOURAGE YOUR ADULT STUDENTS

Source: Thought.Co : 5 Principles for the Teacher of Adults External link opens in new window or tab