Considering Adult Learners and Industrial Skills Training

Training skills are not easy to come by. The most effective methods and the greatest intentions can all go unnoticed when it comes to implementing industrial training skills if the adult learner is not fully understood. Malcolm Knowles, who is credited with revolutionizing the adult learning field, identified key principals which are critical in understanding adult learning tendencies. These critical principles can ultimately help manufacturing managers not only put in place quality industrial training programs but also successfully reach and teach adult learners. Knowles’ principles include:

Adults are independent and often self-sufficient. They prefer to manage their time and study efforts themselves. Instructors must recognize and attempt to involve adult learners in lessons as much as possible.

Many adult learners have responsibilities beyond a training course they’re enrolled in. Not only must they be able to fit their industrial training into their busy day to day schedules but they also must be able to connect the content they’re learning with knowledge or experience they have already accumulated throughout life.

Adult learners aim for an end result.  Instructors must demonstrate what that end result will be, in an effort to give trainees something to work towards.

For adults new content learned, especially when it comes to on the job industrial skills training, must feel and be relevant to their actual tasks. If not, they’ll lose interest. Most of the time when adults seek out industrial skills training programs or are offered the opportunity through work, they are looking to obtain only knowledge that will help improve their industrial skills so anything extra or irrelevant may simply be disregarded. To help with this, instructors must be clear about how each piece of information taught will benefit their performance on the plant floor.

Finally, Knowles points out that adult learners mostly want to be treated with respect. They should have the opportunity to voice their opinions and share their own knowledge throughout the course, proving they are all equals and there only to expand their industrial skills not to be treated as if they are back in grade school.

Ultimately with adult learners, whatever the content they are learning, it must make a difference and they must have the opportunity to apply what they’ve learned on a daily basis. Industrial skills training courseware, like ITC Learning’s, give adult learners each of these opportunities. ITC Learning even offers students the option to participate through online courseware. ITC Learning’s SCORM based online courseware allows students to log in from work or home and complete modules on their own time. SCORM also facilitates tracking and reporting for instructors. Additionally, ITC offers full motion video courseware, CD’s and DVD’s to make enhancing industrial skills easy from any place at any time. Contact ITC Learning today to learn more.

Image courtesy of & David Castillo Dominici