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15 Tips to Motivate Adult Learners


July 24, 2019



20 Tips to Motivate Adult Learners

Motivating adult learners may be, at times, a great challenge which must be grappled with to make employee training possible. 

Given that adults are to be taught differently to children, we provide our top fifteen tips to motivate adult learners:

1. Learning must be based on the interests of learners

The first tip to motivate adult learners is presenting information that interests learners are more likely to be absorbed and retained. Simply deploying various training programs for your employees is not enough. It is important that the learning materials are relevant to the needs and interests of your learners. This can be determined through pre-assessments which is a vital part of understanding the employees’ scope and level of knowledge and expertise so you can better address their learning needs. It also allows you to evaluate the learning progress of the learners, determine the knowledge gaps, and obtain feedback to improve training programs. 

Tips to motivate adult learner - Learning must be based on interests of learners

2. Integrate mobile

Another tip to motivate adult learners is through mobile learning (also called mLearning). This effective training strategy is best for deskless workers in the industries such as in the retail, construction, and food service industries. It is also an ideal solution for office-based based or remote employees. Mobile learning allows learners to avoid feeling restricted in front of their desktops or stay in their workspace for their training and development, empowering them with accurate information at their fingertips. This gives learners more control and flexibility in their overall elearning experience and allows them to develop their soft skills in their own time. By deploying skills training programs through mobile learning, training managers can utilize engagement features on the online courses to make the employee learning experience fun and interactive. You can also leverage features such as push notifications to inform learners of new lessons or remind them of deadlines.

Tips to motivate adult learner - Integrate mobile

3. Challenge learners through games

Challenging learners through course material with incorporated gaming elements enables learners to be motivated and competitive amongst other colleagues. Gamification is the method of transforming regular digital learning content into games and quizzes, much like the ones your learner would play on their smartphones. This includes gameplay elements, such as drag-and-drop, sequencing, matching, etc. It allows you to increase learner engagement and counter the boredom associated with learning work-related information. By making training feel like a fun experience, it enables employees to increase their learning productivity, as the training experience won’t feel dull and forced. 

Tips to motivate adult learner - Challenge learners through games

4. Use an engaging tone

An engaging tone is essential to hook learners and never, ever let them go. An entertaining tone usually involves wit and humor, commonly resulting in increased learner engagement.

Tips to motivate adult learner - Use an engaging tone

5. Information chunking strategy

Chunking is a strategy used to translate information into digestible chunks for the absorption and retention of new knowledge. AKA microlearning.

Tips to motivate adult learner - Information chunking strategy

6. Promote career goals

The promotion of career goals is important to instill a sense of motivation in the minds of employees, allowing them to work toward something worthwhile.

7. Account for individual interests

Accounting for individual interests is also a great tip to motivate adult learners. They can take review courses for CPA and set a goal to get certificate in accounting as an essential step in their career. When learners feel that what they consider important is recognized, they are more likely to be positively involved in their learning.

8. Mentally stimulate learners

In order for training to be a successful and worthwhile investment, learners must be mentally stimulated and challenged with different types of activities, requiring different skills.

9. Let mistakes lead to learning

Learning from mistakes is a great way to improve skills and often results in learners not making that same mistake again.

10. Make lessons visually-appealing

Aesthetic design of lessons assists in the motivation of learners as they are generally more responsive. These can even be done online through a learning management system or an authoring tool.

11. Respect

Adult learners deserve to be respected and needs acknowledged.

12. Place emphasis on feedback

Feedback is an important mechanism for the continual improvement of employee performance, as preferences can be accounted for, implemented and successful executed.

13. Make the benefits of the course clear

When benefits of the employee’s training program are made clear, the learner feels as if they have purpose in their learning, promoting encouragement.

14. Provide options

Providing options to learners means that they are valued and feel supported. Options include which material they choose to progress through and at a time which is suitable to them. These choice in preferences can be available through the implementation of microlearning.

15. Create an immersive learning experience

An immersive learning experience reinforces the importance of the information being taught and gives the learner a more insightful learning environment.

If you would like to learn more about how to build the most effective employee training strategy!

If you’d like to know more about elearning development and how SC Training (formerly EdApp)’s mobile learning platform can help your internal training practices, get in touch at enquiries@edapp.com. You can also try SC Training (formerly EdApp)’s Mobile LMS and authoring tool for free by signing up here.

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Guest Author Daniel Brown

Daniel Brown is a senior technical editor and writer that has worked in the education and technology sectors for two decades. Their background experience includes curriculum development and course book creation.

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